Thursday, May 17, 2012

Casellula

I haven't had a girls night out in awhile. So when the Feisty Foodie and Fritos and Foie Gras suggested we hang out, I jumped in with the suggestion of Casellula. They've been there before but I haven't. I've only heard rave reviews. They both love the place so there were no qualms about going again.

I arrived on time but was surprised that the ladies were early. Go figure. They started with a glass of wine and an order of the Ricotta Crostini ($6). The plate came 3 to an order and the ladies were nice enough to save the last piece for me. Sweet, creamy ricotta cheese topped a thin crunchy piece of bread and garnished with lemon zest, hazelnuts, and orange blossom honey. Oh yeah, this was good. Well balanced and not too sweet. The lemon really helped. I also enjoyed the contrasting textures between the creamy ricotta, crusty bread, and crunchy hazelnuts.
Next up, an order of the White Anchovy ($8). I'm happy these girls enjoy anchovies too. It's difficult to find people that will eat them whole like me. These little slivers of fish came with pickled shallots to cut the richness and fennel fronds for that slight anise/licorice flavor. This dish was surprisingly light and yet full of flavor.
You can't go to Casellula without having some cheese. We sat right next to where they stored the cheese and we drooled the whole way through. We each picked one to try ranging in texture and flavor. From left to right we had Capri Goat Cheese, Hooligan, and Cabot Clothbound Cheddar ($6 each). The Capri was tangy and slightly funky which is expected of goat cheese. It went well with the candied orange peels. What I liked most about it was the creaminess that it had. So smooth. The Hooligan (my choice) was slightly more stinky which I love but it was mild enough for those not into that funk. The pickled quail eggs helped balance out the strong flavors. The texture was also creamy but more firm than the Capri. The Cabot Clothbound Cheddar was different from any American cheddar than you'll normally find. It's more akin to English cheddar with its sweet, nutty flavor. The texture is more grainy than smooth. Though not as sharp in flavor, its subtleness worked well with the brown sugar mustard.
What's cheese without some meat to accompany it? Again, we all chose one meat each to share. Starting on the left, we have chistorras, mortadella, and bresaola (3 for $10) served with cornichons and mustard. The chistorras was easily the largest portion there making it a great value. As for flavor, these little Basque sausages gave a big punch in spices reminding me slightly of hot dogs but in a good way. The mortadella was fatty and buttery as a I expect good Italian mortadella to be. It's the only kind of bologna that I'll eat. And the bresaola was tender and intense in flavor after  being air dried. Sometimes I find this Italian beef meat to be too dry but it was just moist enough here to be enjoyable.
The Stuffed Peppadew Peppers ($7) with buffalo mozzarella and speck was wonderful. Freshly made, it came piping hot to the table. I made the mistake of popping it right in my mouth. Yeah, they were hot. But once the burning stopped, I enjoyed the natural sweet spiciness of the peppers, the rich creamy cheese, and the salty speck. F&F also shed a little knowledge on us saying that peppadew peppers are a cross between honeydews and peppers. That's why they're sweet. She's a smart one! These peppers are naturally sweet and some have thought it to be a cross between a pepper and tomato. But it's just a sweet pepper. A delicious sweet pepper.
We finished our meal with something lighter to counter all the cheese and meat we just ingested. An ordered of Smoke Duck and Kale Salad with Eggs (~$13). This was light yet meaty from the smoked duck breast and eggs. It's exactly what we needed to balance out our meal.
Casellula is a small, quaint neighborhood wine bar. It takes no reservations but is packed every single night. As its name suggests, it boasts a wide range of wines and cheeses to choose from. But on this night, I found out it was so much more. The food was fantastic, the wine refreshing, and the service friendly. I will absolutely go back again and again. Thanks girls for introducing me to such a fabulous place.

Casellula Cheese & Wine Cafe
401 West 52nd Street
New York, NY 10019
(212) 247-8137
casellula.com

6 comments:

  1. looks like a pretty great wine bar!

    too bad it is so FAR!! haha

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  2. Peppadew peppers are not a cross between a honeydew melon and a pepper. They are just a sweet pepper. You cannot actually cross breed peppers and melons because they are in different families. Now a melon and a cucmber, yeah they can interbreed.

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    Replies
    1. @CFlax: Thanks for the info. I guess the egg is on my face! I'll correct the post.

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  3. So, so good! Sooo good! I look forward to returning ANY TIME YOU WANT. This is literally my favorite wine bar. I used to love Carerra but they changed and Danny Brown being my local wine bar is nice but a bit too far to walk (well, maybe not)... I just love Casellula so much. SO GOOD.

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  4. meats & cheeses!!
    chistorras and duck salad sound good.

    still not been yet. should remedy in the future.

    ReplyDelete

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