1 at Christopher St.-Sheridan Sq.
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The Underground Gourmet can’t blame Jody Williams for refusing to call Gottino a wine bar. After all, New York is practically awash in wine bars these days. So instead, the Morandi chef christened her former pet project, the elegant slip of a West Village space she opened with partner Michael Bull before moving on to Buvette, a “gastroteca—my made-up word for an Italian gastropub,” she says. And when, precisely, is a wine bar not a wine bar, according to Williams? When great food, great wine, and thoughtful service add up to something much more than a cookie-cutter marketing plan.
At first glance, the casual observer might not be able to tell the difference. Gottino embodies rusticity, with all the Old World Wine Bar signifiers in place: the long marble bar and the standing ledge behind it, the Ferrari-red Berkel meat slicer, the piles of seasonal fruit (quince, pomegranates, blood oranges) that are a telltale Williams touch. Wine bottles, cookie jars, and anchovy tins line the walls; baskets of complimentary nuts are arranged along the bar for customers to crack open at will. But beyond the romantic “ ’teca” atmosphere is a terrific “gastro” restaurant, one that adapts the familiar small-plate wine-bar format to its own Slow Food–inspired, seasonally dictated, often idiosyncratic ends. If there’s a wine-bar playbook, and there must be by now, Gottino isn’t going by it.Ideal Meal
Bigné with Prosecco to start, followed by ciambottini, any crostini, blood-orange salad, canederli or cotechino-stuffed apples, and a bit of cheese. Or just make your way through a crock of chicken-liver pâté and call it a day.