A secret garden within a secret garden – A Review of Gottino
BY ELENA MANCINI
Inconspicuously housed behind a charming storefront of an otherwise bustling West Village artery, Gottino offers a garden of delectable pleasures– both literally and figuratively. In the warmer months it’s possible to savor inventively-combined gourmet delights and discover a list of select, non-generic Italian wines in the sweet, ivy-laced garden of this adorably ambitious “gastroteca,” as chef/owner Jody Williams insists on calling her debut gem.
The menu features seasonal small plates, salumi and artisinal cheeses representing all regions of Italy. It’s the perfect place to satisfy the urge for a “spuntino,” a small bite in between meals.
Here, I’ve enjoyed inspired bruschette, topped with ingredients like hazelnut pesto, stracchino cheese and sun dried tomatoes, mint and artichokes and delicious panini filled with porchetta and prosciutto crudo and fontina. I’ve also enjoyed Njudja, Calabrian smoked spreadable salami with fresh capers and spreadable whipped salt cod with potatoes and olive oil, baccala’ mantecato. Everything that I’ve eaten here was prepared with products that were uniformly fresh, of indisputable quality and prepared with care. Most items on the menu are small, but flavors are big and tabs are thoroughly reasonable for the neighborhood and a true value for the quality of the food and a relaxing experience.
All in all, this cute, Italian farm-cottage of a place is bright and friendly place to grab a quick bite or several. If you’re in a mood where committing to one thing is hard, Gottino will offer you a panoply of satisfying flavors. It’s also a great place to enjoy a cappuccino and cornetto morning or early evening wine, as many of the neighborhood insiders have since figured out. On slow, off-peak times, the broad white-marble counter is a welcoming place to sit down, chat with your barista or neighbor, or while away the afternoon with the New York Times.