Angie and I met at Zampa 306 West 13th Street, New York, NY 10014 early (6:30pm) to make sure we could secure a seat since they don’t give reservations for parties of two. We decided to sit at the bar, a cleverly designed one that zig-zagged across the length of the space. It gives the feel of separation so that small groups could feel somewhat private while sitting at the bar. At wine bars, I like to sit at the bar because I like to feel more connected with the bartender/winetender.

I told Angie to chose the wines, she drinks more than me, just requesting that we have whites. (I had a little bit of the Barefoot Cabernet Sauvignon that I was cooking with last night and it gave me a headache.) She chose a Pra Soave Classico Superiore, nice and dry, but a tad too mineral-y for me.  It ends up tasting like it’s salted. I liked the Verdicchio di Metalica much more, clean, crisp, and fruity. It was more lifting in the gloomy and muggy weather. The bread basket is wonderful, with three fresh choices. One is full of grains but very soft and chewy. One is crusty with big holes, and one is a soft simple white.

Verdiccchio and Soave with bread basket

I always start by asking for recommendations on the food. The attractive, but not so helpful guy behind the bar, says to choose from the salumi and cheese, the crostini section, the panini section, and all the other small plates. Oh, and did we want a entree size plate too? Yea, thanks, that’s the whole menu. I kind of hate that because it didn’t help me narrow down and quite frankly, 95% of the time, there are clear distinctions between the dishes a restaurant does really well, and the ones that stay on the menu because they have enough customers that request, let’s say chicken breast, to just have it around. I will give him credit for reading my dislike of his answer and then saying that he does favor the last 5 small plates, so we chose three of the 5, and some salumi and cheese.

All the plates flooded our table at once. I would have preferred some staggering. The Oven Roasted Gulf Shrimp with Cannelini Beans were rather boring. You’ve probably seen this dish in tons of places. The beans were a bit under-cooked and well under-seasoned.

Gulf Shrimp with White Beans

The Fava Bean Puree was wonderful though, partly mashed so that there were some nice big chunks. It was a perfectly seasoned generous portion too, so I will forgive the over-cooked and stringy broccoli rabe.

Fava Bean Puree

The Beet Salad was nice but easily something I could make at home, and I do.

Beet Salad

For Salumi, we chose Duck Prosciutto and Speck (smoked prosciutto). The speck was average but I really enjoyed the duck prosciutto. The fat melts on your tongue and it’s just a bit sweet, and perfectly salty. I knew Lon would love it so I ordered some to-go.

Duck Prosciutto and Speck

The Sheep’s Milk Ricotta was nice but not extraordinary.

Sheep's Milk Ricotta

When we finished our plates, we were satisfied, but not full. Remembering to subtract the price of my to-go duck prosciutto, it was $82 (including tax and tip) for the two of us. I’d think of this place as a safety place when you’re in the area and you want something you know will be pretty good, but it won’t wow you, so don’t travel out of the way for it. Also, this place feels less personal than some wine bars. We didn’t feel as connected and opted to go look for dessert somewhere else.

posted by jessica at 09:56 AM Filed under Restaurants, Wine, Wine Bar. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.