Tarallucci E Vino
475 Columbus Ave (83rd St)
City: New York, NY
Phone: (212) 362-5454
Site: Visit the restaurant site
2nd Cuisine: Wine Bars
Area: West 80s
At first glance, Tarallucci e Vino on 18th looks--and-sounds-- like an ordinary Italian eatery with a crowd that skews youngish--not surprising as it's close to Union Square, a hangout for millenials and then some. Walls are brick or painted white, floors are hard, tables wooden, the better to transmit sound. Noise can get fairly intense although the place is small which helps keep it down.
Founded by Abruzze restaurateur Luca Di Pietro, menus work at adhering to seasonal offerings and largely small- batch wines from family-owned wineries under the direction of wine director Lorenzo Baricca.
Both wine and food are definitely a cut above. My companion raved about the freshness of ingredients in what appeared to be a very un-special salad while the arancinni were light and greaseless although the filling lacked the peas that are typically part of this peasant dish that arose as an expedient way to stretch leftover meat. The salumi plate, (three choices for $18; one for $8), lets you chose from Coppa Dolce, sopressato piccante, speck, house cured salame and other pig-based deliciousness. There is an equally large choice for the cheese plate with offerings from the sheep, cow, goat or you could start with the octopus in red wine with potatoes, beans and fresh oregano.
An entrée special of guanciale was cooked to melting softness bedded on kale or hit up the many pastas like Fregnacce with duck ragu, orecchetti with pork ragu and more of the cake spiked with chili, or homemade pasta with eggs sourced from the John D. Madura Farms and black truffles ($27--most pastas are in the $20 range.)
The wine list is impressive with glasses and bottles mostly from Italy with some from France, Spain and Portugal.
Lunch has many pastas and salads as well as paninni: smoked salmon, good Italian tuna, goat cheese with figs on garlic toast, meatballs and screppelle M'busse, a kind of rolled crepe from Abruzzo in chicken broth, the whole bedecked with grated cheese. There's a $16 mixed seafood salad as well as a salad with arugula, ricotta, walnuts, pickled herbs and prosciutto that makes a lovely meal.
Desserts at any meal run to panna cotta, gelato or sorbets or taralluci, a classic Italian cookie often lemon-flavored, served here with a glass of vin santo
Tarralucci serves breakfast with juices, coffees and teas, all manner of Italian and not-so pastries and a coterie of egg dishes including a frittata with a selection of fillings (butternut squash, tomato, pancetta (pick any two, $12.)
The restaurant has several spaces for parties of differing sizes. It's open Monday through Friday at 8, closes Mondays at 10 PM.; Tuesdays through Fridays at 11 and starts up weekends at 9 am until 11 PM on Saturdays, shuttering at 5 on Sundays. There are four locations of this mini-chain; the one in the UES's Cooper- Hewitt Museum serves a vastly abbreviated menu.
Review By: Mari Gold