Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Finally eating at Casellula (and Wine Century Club update)

A couple of weeks ago, JH and I met up at Casellula to try the edibles. I'd been there once or twice a while ago just for a glass of wine, but their food is supposed to be notable and I'd never tried it. This time, food was on the docket; did the reputation hold? Read on.

JH went for the Pig's Ass sandwich, which was stuffed with cheese and pickles and heartily pressed and toasted. There was a big dish of chipotle aioli for the slathering and/or dipping. Verdict? A mightily successful sandwich in both texture and flavor.

Mmm, butt.

In honor of summer, I went for the watermelon salad. Small dices of watermelon rested among arugula, slivered and toasted almonds, and bits of feta cheese. The stealth star of the show was actually the lemon confit, which provided a surprisingly tart and tangy taste as well as a curious, gelee-like texture. Overall, the mixture of sweet and salty, crunch and softness, was pretty darn addictive.

Pretty AND tasty!

On to dessert: JH went for the chocolate cake, a big hunk on a plate that's brought to the table along with a carafe of cream, which is poured over the cake tableside. It was good; by agreement not the best chocolate cake we'd ever had, but chocolatey and tasty. The poured-cream gimmick is interesting, but I think personally I'd still prefer either ice cream or whipped cream as an accompaniment.

Cake and pool of cream

My choice was the Berry "Crostini" (quotation marks theirs), which came with planks of rosewater meringue, miti crema ice cream, passion fruit curd, and stewed berries. I was skeptical of the rosewater meringue, because in my experience rosewater-flavored things taste like grandmothers' perfume. And this kind of did, honestly, although thankfully the perfume taste was very mild and pretty much disappeared after the first bite. The ice cream and berries were delicious, and the tiny bit of passion fruit curd lining the meringue under the ice cream provided a needed pop of flavor.

Sweet and summery

Oh, and given that Casellula is a wine and cheese cafe, I did have wine-- a glass of crisp, minerally Xarel-lo, an interesting white wine I'd never had before. Wondering where I am in my Wine Century Club quest? Good question! As of the writing of this post, I'm 22 varietals in. The list as of now is as follows:

Baco Noir
Cabernet Franc
Cabernet Sauvignon
Chenin Blanc
Muscat Blanc
Pedro Ximinez
Pinot Gris

So far, the most surprisingly good was the Albarino-- something (once this WCC quest is over) I'll definitely seek out again.

But back to Casellula; what was the overall verdict? The food was definitely good, and the wine is-- well, wine-- but a bit more creatively selected than you'd usually encounter. Prices are a touch high; everything is a dollar or two more than I'd like it to be. I'd certainly return for food or drinks, I wouldn't necessary brave Casellula's usual long lines to do so. I think that puts Casellula solidly in the three OS category.

401 W. 52nd Street at 9th Avenue


Josh said...

I stumbled on your blog somehow and find it interesting as I live in the area. Try Dolcetto D'Alba. Really interesting Italian varietal.

Janine said...


Welcome to the blog! I'll definitely put dolcetto d'alba on my list. Any other local restaurants you'd recommend?

Thanks for reading!


Josh said...

Well I live on 10th so I ramble over to Il Milograno quite often. Its on 51st and 10th. It's a good neighborhood Italian spot. The pasta is homemade and its relatively cheap...Another favorite is Tehuitzingo Deli..It's this crappy little deli that sells mostly Mexican specialty items. In the back they make tacos that are really good and cheap. Kind of fun place to have a few tacos/beers

Janine said...

Hi @Josh,

I'm a big fan of Il Melograno-- they were incredibly cheap when they first opened a few years back, and even though they've raised their prices a bit, the food is still very good, I agree.

Haven't made it to Tehuitzingo yet; have you tried Tulcingo del Valle as well?