My sweet friend Peggy had a surprise in store when I joined her little sister in the big city. She announced she would be treating us to a night at a place the owner calls a "gastroteca," a made-up word for an Italian wine bar. Best of all, Gottino is on Greenwich Avenue, close to my new home.
Dish isn’t the right word; it’s a pair of crostini, toasted bread slathered with a pesto of walnuts, olive oil, thyme, a dab of sun-dried tomato and some Parmesan, Italy’s indispensable utility player. The topping is as addictive as crunchy peanut butter, and might well be considered the grown-up answer to it.
Now I am positively kicking myself for not taking notes, as the menu seems not to be online. Nevertheless, our spread also included crostini with ox tail and a marmalade -- a scrumptious blend of sweet and savory flavors. We had a salad of shaved Brussels sprouts tossed with Parmesan, olive oil, lemon, walnuts and freshly ground pepper. Delightful! (The picture really doesn't do it justice.)
Best of all, the portions weren't skimpy. I hate it when you go somewhere for small plates and you're still hungry.
Ellen and I could have stopped there, but we both agreed we didn't want to miss on the proscuitto and fontina crepes with sage. The waiter brought us each a glass of red for our second drink. Neither of us could make sense of the Italian wine list, but he asked what we like (zinfandel for me, pinot noir for E) and matched our tastes perfectly without making us feel silly for being so clueless.