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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Peachy Picks Mozzarella & Vino Inaugural Review Our Coverage Sponsored by Fresh Origins

The magic word: Burrata!  We never edit pictures; it is this gorgeous.
Peachy and Vito
Gianfranco we missed you!

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A restaurant where mozzarella is the focus of the menu?
In tandem with Italian wine?
Our friends Gianfranco Sorrentino and Vito Gnazzo, host and executive chef respectively, co-owners, have earned their "triple crown" with their restaurant newest to us: Mozzarella e Vino.
You know them from Il Gattopardo:
and The Leopard at des Artistes:

"Our idea is to evoke the spirit of a high caliber meal at a quicker pace catering to those that go to shows; we are a wine bar that is enhanced by a bespoke mozzarella producer," Vito Gnazzo, Executive Chef and Owner tells Peachy.

This is no ordinary restaurant.  But SINCE WHEN have we been interested in ORDINARY?
Mozzarella & Vino has brilliantly invested in the ABC Mozzarella di Bufala Campana Coop Allevatori Bufalini Casertani.  If you didn't understand that because you cannot speak Italian either (Peachy can only say her name, pleased to meet you and I love Italian shoes) it means that they are part owners in this bespoke mozzarella brand in Italy, and it doesn't get more direct and fresh than that.  Of course, it is even more extraordinary when you add the Italian wine.

The Mozzarella & Vino space is where Il Gattopardo used to be, and now Il Gattopardo is on the same block a bit down the street.  You know it got its name from the Italian movie THE LEOPARD and we seem to be putting movies and dinner together a lot these days-stay tuned for Sony's latest and greatest which we are about to tell you about.
There is Peachy with her inaugural glass of vino on the inaugural review of Mozzarella & Vino.
We have a feeling it could be picked again & again.
Peachy's first glass was the fabulous Supertuscan 2013 Il Bruciato Bolgheri, which proved to be  a smashing start of rich red Italian ripeness: a blend of cabernet, merlot and syrah in perfect proportion.  All evening Peachy was in red italian wine glory.  It is not too often where we can find a place that knows exactly what we would like before we know it ourselves, but these guys have known us a long time and their wine list reads like a bible.
Seafood ecstasy awaits you with the Insalate section's winner: Calamari, mussels and shrimp salad over organic frisee, arugula and oven-dried cherry tomatoes.  These cherry tomatoes are especially triumphant in flavor and the seafood is tremendously fresh.  Pierless is the source of the wonders of the sea at Mozzarella & Vino.  We loved this salad and predict it has a big summer ahead in popularity.
The atmosphere of Mozzarella & Vino is in a word gorgeous, so dress to match it!
Ambient music is not too loud (maybe they did that for us; Peachy does not like a lot of noise unless Pirlo is scoring and you ought to know that Andrea comes here).
The difference between good and great is that people that are great exceed our expectations.  The only thing we were sad about here was not seeing Gianfranco this night but Vito was of course here as you see.  Great people make accurate suggestions that enhance our meal, and Vito personally wanted us to try this salad: Citrus and avocado with fennel and gaeta olives with a fresh mint dressing.  The blood orange grapefruit was to-die-for in it.  They have a stunning salad selection at Mozzarella & Vino.
Now that angelic Peachy has eaten her vegetables, she next visited the Antipasti section of the menu with the AMAZING classic Burrata Pugliese.  At Mozzarella & Vino, Burrata Pugliese is scented with basil oil and served with cherry tomatoes and toasted bread.
It is an absolute dream:
We would encourage you to delicately devour your new best friend.
Next in the batting order for Peachy was the Nebbiolo delle Langhe 2011 Oddero, another winner.
The "from our dry-aging room" section is also a must-visit from the menu: from the Sopressata/Veneto (Venice!) A blend of hog's shoulder and leg brings some spicy to your meal as well as red wine, salt and a spice mix encased and aged up to a year.  It paired so well with the next Brunello.
Under the entrees: "Pesce & Carne", you will find some solid choices for your dinner focus.  Peachy enjoyed the fragrant, fresh "Insalata di pollo": grilled thin sliced chicken breast over radicchio, celery and frisee, topped with shaved Parmigiano Reggiano and cherry tomatoes with olive oil and balsamic dressing.  Delicious!
Our esteemed panelist adds:
What do you get when you have investors who own cheese factories in Italy? The best, freshest selection of the most delectable cheeses, in inventive recipes, accompanied by a brilliant selection of choice wines.
Mozzarella e Vino ( Mozzarella and Wine) is a restaurant that sits directly across from MOMA in Manhattan. You'll have to visit both of course, so make this restaurant a destination, and MOMA a cultural infusion for the day. While you're absorbing the many facets of the menu, treat yourself to a post-art cocktail. 
 We tried the "Tramonto", made with Prosecco ( Ilsogno), St. Germaine and a touch of Chambord. Served in a tall flute with a lemon peel it's a refreshing finish to an afternoon, or a delightful beginning to the evening at hand.
If it happens to be lunchtime, check to see if the "Panzanella" is on the menu. Have this instead of a tuna sandwich, with its savory dressing drizzled over cubes of bread, fresh tomatoes, and poached tuna. 
 Every region in Italy has its own version of the panzanella, and at Mozzarella e Vino, their version is geared to the NY palate. A generous portion of tuna, cherry tomatoes for flavor, with a hint of fennel and citrus to top it off. The accompanying wine was a lustrous Rose: Garda Classico Chiaretto 2014. 
 There is a whiff of perfume in this bottle that conjures visions of somnolent afternoons. It's dry and not too sweet and was very good with the tuna: a rose that seems to float on the palate.
We will warn you that hungry is the only way to do this restaurant, and the list of things we wanted to try will have to serve us for our next visit. Too much, too good, too wonderful. 
In the list of antipasti is a buffalo mozzarella roll, filled with grilled peppers and scented with anchovies. Even if you're a non-anchovy person, go for it. As it's only "scented", the anchovy is more of an infusion, a note in a well orchestrated symphony. This would be a trendy item on any menu, but befits the buffalo cheese sourcing. Our chef waxes eloquently about his mozzarella ( from Salerno) and will regale with tales of how and where and when. Buffalo mozzarella is to be eaten fresh, not more than one day, and at Mozzarella e Vino, with their cheese connection, always delightfully mouthwatering. It's a cheese that sometimes can overwhelm ( we're told that it's been too long on the shelf when that happens), but here it's in its own element.
Next vino: a Pinot Grigio 2013 Jermann which accompanied our next course. From the north, with a great edge, no aftertaste perfect for the sweet contrast of the next dish. 
For some, this might be dessert: Buffalo Ricotta with chestnut honey from Cilento, Campania. This "king of ricottas" is made from Buffalo whey and is the smoothest we've ever tasted. Heaven on the palate and light on the digestion, served with walnuts and blueberries. Try this after just a salad here, and you'll have had the perfect light lunch.
For our main dish we've selected the "Trota al forno", oven baked rainbow trout over squash. The trout is lovingly filetted into 3 sections, and hails from Pennsylvania. Cooked with yellow and red cherry tomatoes it's a rainbow of melting flavor with zucchini and yellow squash. 
We've changed to a Tramonti, Falanghina/Biancolella 2013 to finish the meal. This wine is a full bodied white and sits like golden nectar on the tongue. A gentle citrus edge makes it just delightful with the fish.
Dessert, you say? Above meet the Ricotta cheesecake with mixed berry sauce, and below enchant yourself with the Almond and blueberry tart with vanilla gelato:
What about: dark chocolate and almond cake with pistachio gelato?
 Scrumptious. Chocolate makes the world seem right. As an after dinner digestif, we ordered the Cynar, one of my favorites, made from artichokes. How? No idea, but trust me, it's wonderful.
Mozzarella e Vino is always busy. After all, within eyesight of MOMA and in one of the busiest sections of Manhattan, it's all about location, location, location. Vito, the executive chef, has been with Gianfranco, his business partner, for 20 years. Their philosophy of "freshness, quality, simplicity and authenticity" rings true in dish after dish. 

Peachy Picks Mozzarella & Vino!
Mozzarella & Vino is Highly Recommended by Whom You Know.

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