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Masseria Dei Vini-An Authentic Italian Experience

Masseria Dei Vini-An Authentic Italian Experience

Masseria Dei Vini-An Authentic Italian Experience

La Masseria Group was formed by childhood friends and natives of Capri, Giuseppe (Peppe) Iuele (formerly of La Locanda dei Vini) and Vincenzo (Enzo) Ruggiero (formerly of Bice NY), and Executive Chef Giuseppe (Pino) Coladonato and native of Rutigliano, a small town near Bari in Puglia, who met his future partners while working as the Head Chef at Sette Mezzo. The partnership officially formed after the closure of Sette MoMA, with the trio opening La Masseria in the Theater District in September 2004. Since joining forces, they have opened two cafés operated by Chef Pino's son Vito Coladonato and three additional restaurants, La Masseria Rhode Island in 2009, La Masseria Palm Beach Gardens in 2016, and a second Manhattan restaurant, Masseria dei Vini in Hell's Kitchen in 2014.

Like its sister restaurants, Masseria dei Vini is named for the pugliese word for fortified farmhouses that also serve as hotels or restaurants that use only farm fresh ingredients to create classic Italian dishes. The 9th Avenue restaurant is a more contemporary take on its predecessor and features daily crudos, a large selection of house made pasta, traditional dishes from Puglia, where Chef Pino was born, and a large selection of wines mainly from Italy. Many proteins are created in a Ferrara wood-burning pizza oven that has lava rocks from Mount Vesuvius giving the dishes a distinct taste.

The menu begins with Antipasti, highlighting such options as Crudo Del Giorno, fresh raw fish or shellfish selected at the fish market each day; Terra Mare, grilled baby octopus and cuttlefish on a bed of fava bean purée and fried Tropea onions; Mozzarella Farcita Dello Chef, stuffed homemade mozzarella of the day; and I Cucuzielli Fritti alla Chef Pino, a specialty of Chef Pino very crispy and lightly fried zucchini sticks.

Also included in the appetizer menu are Insalate, or salads, including Insalata Masseria, arugula, radicchio, endive, mushrooms, olives, tomatoes and roasted peppers; and Insalata di Carciofi, artichoke hearts with avocado, pistachios, and parmesan cheese.

Guests also have the option to indulge in Neapolitan-style Pizza, Le Pizze. All the ingredients are imported from Italy and are stamped with the Denominazione di Origine Protetta (DOP) mark in order to provide diners with an authentic Italian experience. The dough is house made and left to breathe for 72 hours before baking.

This process makes the pizza dough lighter than usual and more digestible. Specialty pizzas include Pugliese Maritata, topped with smoked mozzarella, broccoli rabe, and ground Italian sausage; and Tartufo Nero, mozzarella fior di latte, fontina cheese, robiola cheese and parmesan cheese, on a black truffle sauce base.

Next is the Paste, featuring various shapes of fresh house made pasta like Orecchiette alla Barese, 'little ears'-shaped pasta with broccoli rabe and crumbled Italian sausage in a spicy broccoli and garlic sauce; and Spaghetti al Nero con Vongole Veraci, house made squid ink spaghetti with fresh baby clams and garlic in a white wine sauce.

One of Chef Pino's specialties is Granotto ai Frutti di Mare & Fagioli, Korasan grain, known as Grano Buono imported specially for the restaurant from Puglia, served with white beans, mixed seafood, and a touch of tomato sauce.

The main courses, dubbed Le Carne e i Pesci (meat and fish) showcase Costoletta di Vitello alla Milanese, a Pugliese take on the northern Italian classic, a thinly pounded veal chop breaded with breadstick crumbs served with an arugula and tomato salad; Coniglio alla Caprese, a traditional dish from Capri and Ischia comprised of an oven roasted rabbit with fresh herbs in a white wine sauce; and Orata del Mediterraneo, oven roasted whole Mediterranean Sea Bream with black olives and capers in a cherry tomato sauce.

Masseria dei Vini's desserts, I Dolci, are made each day by a team of pastry chefs trained by Chef Pino. Highlights include Torta di Ricotta alla Vaniglia, vanilla flavored cheesecake made with sweet ricotta cheese; Torta di Mama Paola, a flourless chocolate cake served with vanilla ice cream inspired by co-Owner Enzo Ruggiero's mother's recipe; and Delizia al Limone, a lemon glazed custard sponge cake.

The extensive wine program was designed by Enzo Ruggiero, whose passion for wine began as a child going to local vineyards with his grandfather where they would stomp grapes to make the family wine. The program contains more than 400 different labels, with approximately 90-percent of the catalogue coming from Italy, and the other 10-percent from around the world. Enzo has selected each wine by hand, opting to highlight wines from small vineyards and producers as well as uncommon wines.

Masseria dei Vini was designed by Libby Langdon. The expansive space features a large white Carrara marble bar, tiled floors, and tables draped with white tablecloths and dark wooden chairs. The white stone walls feature hanging farm equipment to give the restaurant a sophisticated yet rustic feel. The southernmost wall is a beautiful wine display giving guests a glimpse into the large wine selection.

Masseria dei Vini is located at 887 9th Avenue New York, NY 10019. Visit their web site at or call (212) 315-2888. Follow them on INSTAGRAM @masseriadeivini.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Masseria dei Vini

From This Author - Marina Kennedy

Marina P. Kennedy's writing career led her from freelancing opportunities in New Jersey and New York to writing for where she covers entertainment, the culinary scene,... (read more about this author)

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