A true Italian in the Flatiron
The literal translation of Tarallucci e vino is savory biscuits and wine, but as Italians love to associate proverbial meanings with food – it refers to resolving a dispute by pretending there was no dispute to begin with- or the more familiar American expression- we agree to disagree so let’s break the bread over some wine. To evoke the Italian culture of conviviality and lively banter over great food came the birth of Tarallucci e Vino, which was founded by transplanted Italians living in NY who wanted to bring the casual elegance of Italian café culture to Union Square. A modern yet rustic and cozy European atmosphere is achieved through exposed brick walls, tufted banquettes, fresh flowers and soft ambient lighting. By tapping Chef Andrew Welch who comes from Esca and Essex House, he brings a light touch to contemporary and artisanal Italian specialties by using seasonal ingredients from Union Square’s Green Market and items from his family’s organic farm.
To whet the appetite start with the homemade bufala burrata- a creamy homemade mozzarella made with fresh goat milk and tomatoes that are as authentic as dining on a Tuscan farm and also get the fresh Bluepoint Oysters with mignonette, which are especially sweet in the Winter. While Italians love the spirit of abundanza, dishes are meant to be shared family style with a selection of anti pasti and pasta specialties. The tender octopus with cannellini beans is sliced thin and served carpaccio style, while the baby squid and olive salad is tempered with a bit of calabrian chili to add tingle to the palette. One of Chef Welch’s hallmark dishes is the strozzapreti featuring fresh pasta rolls with crab and sea urchin finished with a hint of licorice. Perfect for a cold winters night, the rich lobster and mascarpone risotto is full bodied and satisfying while the Fregnacce is a hearty pasta topped with pulled duck ragu and parmesan. For the main course choose from shellfish, the catch of the day or meat dishes that change nightly. The day boat scallops with cockles and cauliflower are mouthwatering with a unique twist of tangerine essence. Also recommended is the crispy pan seared black bass with arugula and lemon. For a succulent cut of meat try the classic tagliata which is a thinly sliced beef striploin grilled to perfection and finished with truffle and trumpet mushrooms.
As Italians love la dolce vita, save room for their delectable desserts- classics like salt accented Gianduja- a dark chocolate with hazelnut, light as a feather tiramisu, and cheesecake torta in a variety of flavors are all paired with distinctive dessert wines and will make you feel like you are in a café facing the Spanish Steps of Rome.