Relaxed, informal, but ambitious and offering far more than it needs to: words that could describe both the restaurant and the wine list at Danny Meyer’s Maialino. Conceived as a modern New York take on the traditional Roman trattoria, this popular haunt in the Gramercy Park Hotel features a menu designed by executive chef Nick Anderer to make the most of the ingredients from a handful—a “local family”—of suppliers and producers: simple but perfectly executed dishes such as seared lamb chops and marinated market vegetables, and trenette pasta with spring nettle pesto and pistachio.
Wine director Jeff Kellog’s tightly focused list is perfectly pitched for the environment and a big draw for anyone interested in the diverse charms of modern Italian wine. Eschewing trophy names and the Parker-pointed for young Turks and the best traditional producers from up and down the country, it has an excellent something-for-everyone by-the-glass or carafe offering, including a selection of mature Nebbiolo where Francesco Rinaldi’s Barisone 1971 takes its place alongside Musso Langhe Nebbiolo 2011. With the Italians supplemented by a broad selection of grower Champagne, there is a lot of fun to be had by the glass or bottle at Maialino.