Awesome Roman-style pizza at Marta, New York’s hottest new restaurant

macellaio pizza marta new yorkHonestly, as long as your a little bit flexible with your date and time, it’s not that hard to get a reservation at Marta on east 29th street (between Park and Madison), New York’s hottest new Italian entry.

Using OpenTable, I was able to snag a 9 p.m. four-top on a Tuesday night.

The restaurant was packed when Paolo and I arrived about 30 minutes early. But we were seated within 10 minutes of checking in with host, who was super sweet and friendly.

Among the appetizers that arrived at our table, I really loved the rabbit meatballs, which came with sweet and creamy homemade ricotta, and the supplì, which were especially fun because they were made from “green risotto and so they had a more tangy flavor (imparted by flatleaf parsley, I’m guessing).

mushroom pizza funghi marta new yorkBut beyond the already celebrated (and very affordable) Champagne selection and the otherwise Italocentric list, the star and thrill of the Marta experience is the Roman-style, thin-crust pizza.

The “Funghi” (“Fontina, Hen of the Woods, Chanterelles, Red Onion, Thyme”) was the biggest hit at our table, although the “Pizza alla Carbonara” (topped with “Potatoes, Guanciale, Black Pepper, Pecorino, Egg”) was as unusual as it was overwhelmingly delicious. If I’m not mistaken, that’s the “Macellaio” at the top of this post.

Wine director Jack Mason — who hails from Texas! — has done an amazing job of putting together the program there. No pressure, after all! ;)

The list is dialed into wine inventory software Binwise and so its regularly updated on the restaurant’s site.

It’s simply the sexiest room in Manhattan right now and I highly recommend it…

Martha Washington hotel
29 East 29th Street
New York, NY 10016
(212) 651-3800
Google map

Stay tuned! Paolo will be eating his way through NYC next week…

Hang on to your seats, folks! Paolo (below) and his travel buddy Jeremy (aka Do Bianchi) have some great reservations lined up for New York City next week.

They’ll be meeting with some fabu wine professionals and checking out the many new wine bars and restaurants that opened there in 2014. It should be a fantastic trip.

We love the Big Apple! So stayed tuned!

italian wine new york city

Food & Wine’s Ray Isle calls Salice Salentino “one of the year’s best red wine values”

Here’s what Food & Wine executive wine editor Ray Isle had to say about the 2010 Salice Salentino, which in included in his list of this “Year’s Best Red Wine Values”:

2010 Cantele Salice Salentino Riserva

Puglia, the heel of Italy’s boot, produces so many good-value reds that it can be heard to choose among them. All of Cantele’s basic bottlings are good, but my favorite was this Negroamaro-based red, full of smoky dark cherry fruit and brambly spice notes.

Click here for his complete list.

best salice salentino puglia

Vinoteca on U St. in DC, one of America’s coolest new culinary desintations

best restaurant %22u street%22 washingtonAbove: Chef Lonnie Zoeller’s gorgeous cooking at Vinoteca in Washington D.C. is as passionate as it is focused and precise (image via the Vinoteca website).

It used to be the U Street in Washington D.C. was known for a handful of cool rock clubs, a smattering of delicious authentic African-cuisine restaurants, and the American culinary landmark, Ben’s Chili Bowl, where Washingtonians as well as tourists regularly gathered for chili cheese fries and chili dogs (often in the wee hours of the night.

Today, the allure of U Street continues to grow as more and more high-concept, hip restaurants have appeared there.

One such destination in Chef Lonnie Zoeller’s Vinoteca Wine Bar and Bistro. Just check out the food photography on his site: it’s easy to gauge how passionate he is about his cooking ability, which he honed during a stage at Els Casals in Spain (a restaurant that the Financial Times called “magical” earlier this year).

The focused wine list at Vinoteca is full of little by-the-glass gems that would impress wine professionals from any corner of the world.

We were thrilled to discover that Cantele Negroamaro is one of them.

Vinoteca Wine Bar and Bistro
1940 11th Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 332-9463
Google map

Top taster Greg St. Clair on 2010 Salice Salentino: “I absolutely love this wine’s aromatics”

best salice salentino pugliaHere’s what Greg St. Clair, one of the top authorities on Italian wines working in the U.S. today, had to say this week about the 2010 Salice Salentino by Cantele:

“I absolutely love this wine’s aromatics, so intriguing, full of Middle Eastern spice, elegant plum, bramble, dried-cherry fruit and nuances of fresh Provencal herbs. On the palate the wine is supple, medium bodied while still being so full flavored, easy to drink, only 13.0% alcohol yet this multifaceted red always beckons you for another sip and then another it is just so tasty. Made from 100% Negroamaro fermented in stainless steel and aged in 1-2 year old barrique for 6 months. This complex yet elegant wine comes from Puglia, the heel of the Italian Peninsula and is the perfect accompaniment to your favorite tomato based pasta dish.”

Click here to read more glowing reviews by some of his colleagues and Stephen Tanzer’s tasting note and 90 point score for the wine (International Wine Cellar).