Dec 292008

This Saturday Gabriele and I spent a fun day in New York City. We were staying in Stamford, Connecticut for the holidays so it was a short train ride into Grand Central. We saw a very funny play on Broadway that had been recommended to us, Avenue Q: After the play we went for drinks at the Campbell Apartment and then for dinner at Scarlatto.

Campbell Apartment is a cool place for a drink, right next to Grand Central. We had cocktails but then decided to try a glass of the  featured Bordeaux, Seuil de Mazeyres 2006. Turns out this is a second label of Chateau Mazeyres, and was not very good at all. It was thin and tannic, with a Merlot-y aftertaste that lingers on the palate. Lesson to take away here is stick to the cocktails at the Campbell.

We had better luck at Scarlatto. We had originally thought of eating at Carmines after the show, especially since Gabe had never been there. But they said they were totally booked. So we went a couple of blocks over to Scarlatto on West 47th Street. The place was very busy on the early side — clearly their main clientele are the pre and post show crowds.

Gabe and I wanted a Barbera with dinner. The waiter didn’t know too much about the four Barberas on the wine list, but went back to the bar for a recommendation. It would have been nice if he knew the list better, but I’ll take that any day over a server guessing or trying to fake it.

The recommendation was for a Podere Ruggeri Corsini 2004 “Armujan” Barbera d’ Alba. It was very tasty, with a fresh bouquet and strong fruit. The wine was medium bodied, with a clean finish that was quick off the palate. The markup was steep at 3x retail, typical for NYC but still a bummer. Looks like it retails for about $20:

One thing I’d like to see more of in NYC that we have in DC is restaurants with attached wine shops, where you can purchase wines at retail price plus an additional $20 or so.  I’ll ask the folks at Tallula or Evening Star Cafe next time I’m there and see if they’ve ever explored. Maybe there is some law that prevents it from happening in New York. If anyone reading this knows, drop me a comment.

The Barbera went very well with our meals. The grilled calamari over arugula had excellent flavor but was a little chewy, and the carpaccio was good but a bit bland. For entrees Gabe had a well prepared sea bass with garlic and rosemary over broccoli rabe, and I had a very good Ossobuco atop garlicky saffron risotto. Service was attentive and prompt.

It’s always fun to be in NYC during the holiday season, and Scarlatto came through with a good experience. I’d recommend it next time you’re in the Theater/Times Square district.

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