Enoteca Sociale is one of the hottest destinations in the Ossington nabe. One night I call and there is a one hour wait to get a seat at the bar. Getting reservations on a Saturday proves difficult too. We book early, call to say we'll be delayed 15 minutes and at the 18 minute mark, arrive, only to be told, "We just called and left a message saying that we'll have to give your table away." Lucky we got in before a walk-in did... Or are we?
Swiftly seated, with menus in hand, our server offers
us "complimentary" bottled tap water. Gotta love their concern for evading carbon footprints.
The wine list is large and Ital-centric, offering up an eclectic selection I'm happy to explore with my oenologist guest. Beautiful bread and the nicest, fruitiest, flavor packed olive oil remains at the table for our continued use.
Fresh mozzarella with silvery anchovies dress up preserved tomato chunks ($12) drizzled with EVO oil. Light and refreshing, and right from winemaker Norman Hardie's farm, too... Next, Grilled Octopus, Swiss chard with New Potato ($12) and it's a "wow" antidote to winter weather. Gently peppery seasoning, fork tender octopus, the chard-potato mix make me want this as a main, not a starter.
The wine list offers so many taster portions of wine, I could get carried away. Suffice to say, servers are knowledgeable and know what to suggest with Chef Rocco Agostino's menu. Guest shoots for Bucatini Amatriciana ($14) while Oxtails with Polenta ($15) is my winter-warming selection. The pasta dish is spicy, yet sweet from the tomatoes, but the chunks of pancetta throughout are almost entirely fat, and rather soggy to boot. The oxtails come out as a Neanderthal-like duo atop the incredibly luscious polenta. But, it's a battle of the losing variety. After asking for a sharper knife, I give up. Even after wrestling with the big tail joints in hand, I stop this messy foolishness. There's really no point in serving bones with gristly meat shards that are either too tough or next to non-existent. Had it been a small ragout of rich oxtail, this dish might have been sensational...
Wines we pair with dinner range from a Monica di Sardegna, Sagrantino and Morellino di Scansano. It's interesting to "travel" the wine list, especially when so much care is put into it.
We decide to plump for a selection of three cheeses ($18) because I'm still hungry after the oxtail fiasco. Instead of dessert to eat, we split a glass of ruby red dessert wine, Maculan Madoro. I'll come back, but next time, I'll wait for the bar and order the octopus as an entrÃ©e if they'll let me.
Price: $100 plus for dinner with wine, tax and tip.
Atmosphere: Funky, fun vibe.
Wheelchair Access: No
Surprise, Surprise: Eclectic Ital-centric wine list offers many 2 oz tasters.