Jay brought me to ‘inoteca Gramercy last week for a quick dinner after work. Filled with couples and groups on gals-night-outs, the restaurant’s lounge and main seating areas were fizzing with life and beaming with that snug European aroma.
Part of its charm is a menu presented entirely in Italian. I guess it was a little strange sitting there with their translator cheat sheet trying to figure out what it is exactly we were about to order, but here’s how it panned out.
We started with some effervescent cocktails. The Veneto was great for me – light, bubbly, and sweet, while its frothy egg white topping reminded me of Pegu’s creations. The Italian 75, on the other hand, is heavy on the gin and definitely not for the low-on-tolerance.
But as for the food, I think we started and rounded out the night with the best dishes. First was the mozzarella insalate lightly-tossed in vinegar, oil, and ground pepper. The walnuts were a comfy touch and I think I would have been satisfied with just another order of this! Then of course, we ended with an affogato. Jay and I both love anything ice cream and coffee, so it didn’t have to be extraordinary for us to love it – but it was great quality ice cream with wonderfully brewed espresso.
In between, we shared a grilled cucumber panini, which was slightly on the greasy side. We also tried the polpo spiedini – octopus on a skewer. The grilled tentacles were crunchy ans a little bland in flavor, but the herbed and roasted baby potatoes made up for that. Then, and completely gratuitous on our part, was the roasted lamb shoulder – bistecca della agnello. I wish this main course would have come out earlier because I was beyond stuffed at this point. But I nonetheless took in the very tender, slide-off-the-bone cut of lamb. It sat in a chunky tomato-based sauce, which might have been a little chaotic in flavor, but did give the meat that extra punch.
This is a great post-work joint for anyone looking for a hip little spot and some unique flavors. And especially given the lack of evening food social scenes in the Gramercy area, try to make it out before 9 pm on Thursdays/Fridays to avoid a wait.