shopping + pane e vino

I used to live up by the main Bloomingdale’s location which proved to be very dangerous. I wasn’t a big fan of the neighborhood (Sutton Place is far from happening – and no one seems to know what to do do with it. Is it Midtown East? Is it the Upper East Side? People seem confused and indifferent altogether to its existence).  And the only thing I really liked was Bloomingdale’s, which was not good for my bank account. When I lived there, I found few restaurants in the area that I really liked, even though I was constantly trying to find new ones. Somehow I missed Pane e Vino, until I needed to book a brunch/lunch spot for this weekend.

Dining room - open and looking out to Lexington Avenue

Dining room - open and looking out to Lexington Avenue

Before lunch, we went to the Met to the McQueen exhibit. Short commentary? Go to it. Stat. Now to lunch. You could choose from their full menu, which was quite extensive. Or they also had their brunch menu available until 3:30PM. For $19.50, you had your choice of a brunch cocktail, a starter of either the soup of the day or a mixed green salad, and your brunch main course. I was tempted by the Frittata Contadina, which was a frittata with onions, Italian sweet sausage, and fontina cheese, but ended up going with the Focaccia di Casa, served with cured salmon, grilled tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella in balsamic-extra virgin olive oil. Each main also came with hash brown potatoes.

My friend's beef carpaccio

My friend's beef carpaccio

As suspected, this was nothing compared to what would follow. Resist. You'll thank me later.

As suspected, this was nothing compared to what would follow. Resist. You'll thank me later.

Focaccia di Casa

Focaccia di Casa

Linguine Vongole e Vino Bianco - Linguine with baby Manila clams in a white wine sauce

Linguine Vongole e Vino Bianco - Linguine with baby Manila clams in a white wine sauce

When my main course arrived, I was pleasantly surprised. I was expecting maybe an open-faced sandwich – more bruchetta-style. Instead, it was a nicely assembled sandwich, with the bread not overpowering in the least. With focaccia that is a serious talent! The hash brown potatoes were more like thin, fresh fries. Nice surprise and not overly fried, which worked well with the light, summery feel of the sandwich. It was a perfect brunch option in my book. Not as heavy as when something like this is served on a bagel. Wish I could find this more often!

Biscotti

Biscotti

I knew since my friend Nikki was in town that dessert would be a must. We were greeted by a plate of biscotti (fresh and soft – nice change) along with her coffee as we contemplated the finale. I had the server name off all of the dessert options, which all sounded amazing. We’d seen a large sampler platter go by earlier to a table celebrating a birthday so we knew they would all come out quite nicely. They had your standards – tiramisu or a ricotta cheesecake. My ears perked up when he named off a grape pie. Grape pie? I’d bever heard of such a thing. Our server’s eyes lit up when we expressed interest. “Yes! Yes! Very good!” he exclaimed. And what I liked about the server was you could tell he knew their food well and that he was passionate about it. Perfect.

Grape Pie

Grape Pie

When it arrived, I was pleased to see unlike many blueberry pies, this didn’t have a lot of filler. It was straight fruit mixed with only a bit of vanilla cream. The crust was almost like a thin layer of shortbread. Usually I find crust a bit disappointing, but I could have eaten much more of this one. And then the plate was finished off with a scoop of fresh vanilla ice cream. It was a bit steep for a dessert – $10 – but was plenty for the three of us to share. If I came back here, it would be hard to skip this.

I think I’ve found my Bloomie’s meal companion. Done. It felt like we were tucked in an Italian side street. It seems that this place has yet to be discovered by those shoppers looking for a meal before or after. It wasn’t crowded, the service was attentive, and the food was phenomenal. Highly recommend.

Pane e Vino – 691 Lexington Avenue (at 60th Street) – 212.355.2277
Reservations Optional

One thought on “shopping + pane e vino

  1. As part of the museum and eating adventure, I have to thank Lara for finding this little neighborhood gem. At first, I couldn’t decide what to order with the extensive brunch and lunch choices in front of me but I knew I had a long afternoon of shopping ahead of me after a morning at the Cooper-Hewitt Museum and the Met, so I needed some sustenance. When I spotted the Linguine Vongole e Vino Bianco, it was an easy decision.

    I started off with the Carpaccio di Manzo con Rucola e Parmigiano. While nothing out of the ordinary, the dish was a pleasant starter to my meal and didn’t fill me up. I especially liked the slice of parmigiano which blanketed the argula. I’m coming back in another life as a mouse, so the slice of cheese was very much appreciated. I avoided the bread for the most part because if you haven’t figured it out, I love dessert and wanted to save room for it.

    The linguine was cooked to a perfect al dente. The sauce was light with a hint of garlic and white wine. The clams were tasty and flavorful. My only real complaint was that I wish there would have been more clams! I was clearly a member of the “clean plate club” as there was nothing left in my dish after I finished. And, the portion was just enough that I wasn’t overly stuffed.

    Now for dessert…order the grape pie if it’s on the menu!! I’ve never had grape pie and our waiter was so excited and animated when he described it, that we definitely had to order it. I was quite surprised by how good it was. The filling was not starchy or heavy and the crust was light and sweet. Lara and I were raving about how great and tasty the pie was that our friend Amanda finally had to also partake of the foodie joy we were having because it was quite obvious we were loving every single bite of it.

    I would definitely recommend this place to anyone who wants to have lunch after a morning at the Met or as a starting point before a day of shopping at Bloomies and points beyond.

    As for the Alexander McQueen exhibit? Get there lickety-split! Words cannot express how wonderful and interesting and dark this exhibit is. The clothes are worth braving the crowds and lines for a close-up look at how talented and creative a designer McQueen truly was.

    Until my next NYC trip…

    “The Foodie from the D”

    Nikki:)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s