Tuesday, November 30, 2010


The other week I had a true Sunday Funday in New York City, eating amazing food and enjoying the company of some of my favorite people. First up on the list for delicious cuisine was ’ino. Sonya and Pat (my older sister and her boyfriend) had lured me to ’ino for brunch with promises of phenomenal truffled egg toast, and they certainly delivered. There’s a few different variations of ’ino restaurants, but we hit up the the cafe/bar on 21 Bedford Street in Greenwich Village.

We started off the meal by ordering a bottle of 2006 Domenico Clerico Barbera d'Alba Trevigne. Barbera wines are usually fruity with high acidity and low tannins and are known for paring well with a variety of foods. This bottle was the perfect accompaniment for the culinary adventure we were about to embark on with brunch.

First up was the long-awaited truffled egg toast. If there is a heaven I’m certain they serve truffled egg toast every morning for breakfast. And probably for lunch and dinner as well.

The truffled egg toast is basically a thick slice of white bread (I’m guessing it’s brioche but another reviewer claims it’s ciabatta—either way it’s amazing), the center is hollowed out and filled with  luscious raw egg yolks, and the bread is covered with fontina cheese. It’s beautiful. When it arrives the cheese only covers the bread, not the yolk, so that vibrant, golden ray of sunshine peeks out from the center of the toast, tempting you to dig right in. But that’s not it. Drizzled on top of this heavenly creation is decadent and aromatic truffle oil, and the plate is also adorned with asparagus tips. I have to say it—the truffled egg toast is orgasmic. Truly. And when you cut into it and take that first bite, the egg yolk just oozes out sensually over the plate. It's a thing of beauty and pleasure—a culinary work of art for the tastebuds.

Next we delved into the 'ino antipasti. The antipasti came with a variety of delicious options to be spread on grilled pieces of bread, including sweet onions, pate, fennel, goat cheese with fennel fronds, tapenade, soppressata, cacciatorini, roasted garlic with rucola oil, olives, asparagus, and red peppers. What a way to start a meal. The plate abounded with an array of flavors, and every little bite was fantastic. 

After the antipasti we sampled a bruschette plate. Ours came with butternut squash, asiago, and walnuts; white bean, tomato, and basil; spaghetti squash, currants, and pine-nuts; and goat cheese with fennel fronds. As with the antipasti, the bruschette plate is perfect for sharing. We each sampled little bites of all the perfectly crafted bruschette, savoring the different yet complementary flavors of each variation. My favorite was probably the butternut squash, which seemed apropos of the chilly November day.

For the rest of the meal we each ordered a dish and shared bites with one another. I opted for the prosciutto toast, which was very basic—just thin slices of prosciutto over grilled ciabatta. I was really in the mood for some quality cured meat, and this simple prosciutto toast definitely hit the spot. The meat was sliced nice and thin and was flavorful without being overly salty. The ciabatta was grilled perfectly. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect combination of meat and bread.

I loved my prosciutto toast, but Sonya’s tramezzeni was pretty sumblime as well. A tramezzeni is a small sandwich made of white bread with the crusts cut off. ’ino offers a variety of tasty fillings for these sandwiches, but I think Sonya picked the best option—pancetta, oven-roasted tomato, rucola, and lemon mayo. The bread was light and soft and the filling, while flavorful, was not overpowering or heavy. The flavors were delicate and yet so satisfying.

Pat ordered the special salad with arugula, pomegranate seeds, brussel sprouts, and heirloom pork. Before I had even dived into my own prosciutto toast I had to try a bite of the heirloom pork, so I snagged a piece off of Pat’s plate and popped it in my mouth. Oh. My. God. It was perfect. Each piece was crispy, fatty, and tender. Just the pork was amazing, but when it was combined with the other ingredients it was even better, especially as those tiny pomegranate seeds exploded with their quintessential flavors of sweet and tart. Best salad ever.

I was promised an amazing brunch at ’ino and that’s what I got. I now make you the same promise—go to ’ino and you will leave satisfied and smiling. There’s just one condition, you absolutely must order the truffled egg toast. If you walk through those doors without tasting the truffled egg toast you’re definitely missing out on a little slice of earthly delight that could only have been sent by the gods. Enjoy! 

'Ino on Urbanspoon

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