Tarallucci e Vino is owned by two Italians from Abruzzo who are very well versed in the culinary scene in New York. I have the pleasure of knowing only one of the owners, Luca Di Pietro but not the other, Pepi Di Giacomo. Oddly enough, Luca’s wife went to the same graduate program as I did in Bologna although not at the same time. I met Luca through a mutual friend, Alberto Paderi from Alta Cucina and GD Cucine and that first encounter at the bar at Tarallucci e Vino on 18th Street opened a new world for me. Or better, showed me where to find Italy in New York. Since that day, tutto e finito a Tarallucci e Vino, meaning everything has ended well.
I spend a considerable amount of time at Tarallucci. I teach Italian there to a lovely student once a week. We generally have the whole wheat honey croissant and cappuccino. The staff is lovely and always makes us feel at home.
I also meet people at Tarallucci for a drink and in fact, held a meeting there last week with the New York Chapter of Women for WineSense board members. We stayed briefly but I am sure the restaurant has some new fans.
I have been to the 18th street restaurant, the one on East 10th Street and now even the one on Columbus and 83nd. I’m still missing a trip to the SOHO Alessi shop on Greene Street. Each of these locations has a slightly different vibe but each is rigorously Italian. I can say unequivocally that the espresso and/or cappuccino at Tarallucci is among the best in the city if not the best in the city.
I did a long piece on Espresso bars for an Italian magazine a few years back which you can find here and have basically searched high and low in the city looking for that elusive perfect cup. I must say, I find it every time that I go to Tarallucci. That’s not the only reason to go there though.
I love the croissants in the morning, the quiche at lunch and anything off the dinner menu. The restaurant hired a new chef last year, Riccardo Bilotta who is doing great things. Essentially, I feel at home at Tarallucci and I trust that whatever I order, I will enjoy.
Being as much if not more of a wino than a foodie by trade, I also scrutinize the wine list each visit to see if anything new has been added or removed. One of my favorites is the Gragnano from Cantine Federciane
I always order that when it is on the menu. This last visit though, I tried a new wine for me, a Pallagrello Bianco Fontanavigna from Terre del Principe. The owners of Terre del Principe helped to bring back this indigenous variety in Campania as well as Pallagrello Nero and Casavecchia. Apparently, these plants were in existence pre-Phylloxera time, according to the importer Artisan Wines.
The wine itself was exquisite with apricot and peach notes, lovely acidity and minerality. It was somewhat full bodied and enveloping on the palate. I loved it. I’m trying to stay on the recommended one drink per evening suggestion of our surgeon general but that wine made it quite hard for me. As do many others :).