Cavatappo Revisited due to an Overflowing Vino 313

With Marc still in town, I made a last minute decision to go for drinks last night. I figured the recently opened Vino 313 would be the perfect place for a nice glass of wine accompanied by a serene setting. To my suprise and dissappointment, the place was completely packed and anything but serene. And the fact that it was so crowded made the space a lot less appealing. I’ve certainly seen people in Vino 313 in passing but it had never appeared this crowded. Clearly Murray Hill was begging for more wine bars.

Since Cavatappo was only a few blocks away, I decided to give it a second try. Though it being 9:30pm on a Thursday night, I anticipated we’d encounter the same problem. Lucky for us,
Cavatappo was able to accomodate our small party of two with prime seating right in the center. Marc immediately began perusing the wine menu for anything from Spain or France. Being born and well traveled in Europe I thought it was safe to let Marc choose the wine. We settled on a carafe of the 2003 Château Steval, Bordeaux. Since I don’t usually drink French wines it was definitely a new flavor for me. The Chateau Steval was a mix of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which are two reds I don’t often drink. But its smooth nature was very pleasant which made it easy to drink. I’ve yet to try a wine at Cavatappo I don’t like.

We’d also ordered a plate of classic bruchetta of tomatoes, basil, and garlic, to accompany the wine. And I must admit, this is the one thing I did not like. The pizzas, salads, and antipasto have all been wonderful but it was actually difficult to get the bruchetta down. The marinated tomatoes were standard of a traditional bruschetta but the toast underneath it was very hard, almost as if it had been sitting there for quite some time. I like a slightly toasted french bread underneath my bruschetta. And because the bread was so firm, it was slightly painful to eat. But other than this slight mishap, the nite was enjoyable.

I happen to love Cavatappo. Between its prime location (5 blocks from my apt) , tasty small plates, and reasonably priced wine it really is the perfect neighboord spot. Although it was not too crowded on a Thursday night I have walked by many times when its been mobbed, especially on the weekends. So if you can make it into Cavatappo before the rush, consider yourself in store for a great experience.

CAVATAPPO
347 Third Avenue
(Between 25th & 26th Streets)

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Cavatappo

As it turns out, a few wine bars happen to be flocking to the Murray Hill neighborhood and there’s nothing that pleases me more. I’m sure most of you would agree that Winter is nearly here if it isn’t already, and though I like to go out, it’s that much more fun if it’s a mere few blocks away from where you live.

Cavatappo is the second newest wine bar to join the Murray Hill clan (Vino 313 being the newest), and is the perfect place to catch up with friends, grab a quick glass of wine, and even impress a date. Though this is Cavatappo’s newest location, they also have a wine bar and a “grill”, both located on the Upper East Side. Cavatappo’s narrow interior proves to be more charming than cramped and quite lively considering its size. It’s vast selection of reasonably priced wines definitely appeals to the discerning (and younger) Murray Hill clientele. And due to its size, there is sure to be a wait in the Winter months, and you all know how lines attract the Murray Hill crowd (Brother Jimmy’s – wink, wink). In any case, Cavatappo is a wonderful Wine Bar that is deserving of wine conoisseurs from any borough.

A few months ago, I happened to be catching up with an old friend myself and was very pleased by my initial once over. The crowd was pleasantly a bit older and the conversation at a nice even pitch. I usually go to wine bars for a more relaxed setting where I don’t have to scream every other word, and Cavatappo has somehow accomplished that.

We started off with a half carafe of ‘07 Malbec-Alamos from Mendoza, Argentina which was very tasty. Though overwhelmed by the large selection of cheese, meats, salads, and pizzas, we finally decided on a few delicious plates. We started off with the following:

Salad of Blue Cheese, Apple, Walnut, & Endive

Proscuitto di San Daniele



Mushroom and White Truffle Oil Pizza

All three dishes were delectable, as their ingredients were incredibly fresh and fragrant. My favorite was the Proscuitto S. Daniele, which was perfectly moist and just delicious. There’s really no other word for it. I can’t wait to go back and try some of their other Italian tapas! Mid way through our meal we ordered a second carafe of wine, which though I cannot remember the name had a nice cherry and oak flavoring, which was a bit spicy. It made a great finish to our meal.

I highly recommend this great, and somewhat new spot, for anyone who’s interested in wine and fabulously fresh Italian produce.

CAVATAPPO, Wine Bar

347 Third Avenue, between 25th & 26th Streets (Murray Hill)
1728 Second Avenue, between 89 & 90th Streets (Upper East Side)

CAVATAPPO, Grill

1712 First Avenue, between 88th & 89th Streets

Ahh, The Mediterranean

I’ve partaken in eating a significant amount of Mediterannean cuisine in the last month and I thought I’d share its intoxicating effects with you. This week I will expose some of my favorite Mediterranean foods and where they can be found so you can get a taste of the good life.

The highlights of the week are Spanikopita, Acili Ezme, Procuitto di San Daniele, and the wonderfully well known Feta Cheese. Spanakopita is a Greek pastry with a filling of spinach, feta cheese, onions, egg, and seasoning. The filling is wrapped in layers of phyllo pastry with butter and/or olive oil. Acili Ezme is chopped fresh spicy green peppers, vine ripened tomatoes, and onions with parsley. Procuitto di San Daniele is a dry-cured spiced Italian ham that is usually sliced thin and served raw. It is a traditional Italian antipasto, and my favorite! Lastly, Feta Cheese is a brined curd cheese traditionally made in Greece with goat’s and sheep milk. Feta can vary in flavor from salty to tangy and is now made in other regions.

This week’s posts will guide you to some of my favorite NYC spots where you can find the freshest Mediterranean ingredients around. Stay tuned for reviews and recipes including:

Limon
Ithaka

Greek Salad with Lemon Herb Chicken
Cavatappo