Cuisine: Wine Bars
Menu: View the Menu
Review By: Sarah Spigelman
Casellula is a wine bar that also offers meats, cheeses, and small composed plates. It is quite small, so be sure that you get there on the early side if you don’t want to wait. Also, some of the tables are cramped – this isn’t the best place for a date, because it can get quite loud and crowded. Much better for a girls night out or a quick drink at the bar. Treat yourself to an well priced glass of wine from the unusual and well curated list.
Crostini with ricotta, hazelnuts, honey, and lemon features thin slices of toast, topped with creamy ricotta, rich hazelnuts, and just a drizzle of honey. The hazelnuts really put this over the top, emphasizing the milky, clean taste of the ricotta. The lemon was not noticeable on its own, but surely cut through the sweetness of the honey. White Anchovies with Fennel Fronds and Pickled Shallots is another winner. Mild anchovies, tasting more of ocean salt than of fish, tangled with piquant pickled shallots and a few delicate, sweet fennel fronds. Salty, sour, and sweet, these are absolutely addictive, and worth fighting over to get your fair share.
The cheese selection is vast and varied, but some standouts include:
Cabot Clothbound with Brown Sugar Mustard –Much more complex than a standard cheddar, this is less sharp than I imagined it would be, with really subtle notes of vanilla and nuts. Hooligan with Pickled Quail Eggs – This soft cheese has a washed rind and a very mild, creamy flavor. The texture is similar to tallegio, but with none of the funk. Served with rich and tangy pickled quail eggs, this cheese is another winner.
Capri Cheese – This cheese is a goat’s milk – ripe, a little oozy, and mildly funky The texture is like a triple creme brie, and the thinly sliced oranges are sweet, tart, and sticky – a perfect accompaniment.
Peppadews stuffed with buffalo mozzarella and wrapped in speck is an ideal Superbowl food. Salty, meaty, melty, and cheesy, with a slight kick of heat from the peppadews – not a huge amount of spice, and certainly less hot than a jalapeno.
Casellula is a total winner. The service is great, the prices are very fair, and the food is both local and totally inventive.
Casellula means "the little hut" in Spanish and this little spot in Hell's Kitchen is already drawing lots of attention. Think exposed brick, a butcher block bar and ample seating for romantic dining at this cheese and wine bar.
We counted more than 50 wines available, most at affordable prices, ranging from a Nyakas "Olivier" from Hungary for $36 to a Sandro Fay Sforzato from Valtellina, Italy for $100 (many wines are also available by the glass). While sipping some vino you can nibble on cheeses from around the world or maybe some Genoa salami or smoked goose. There's also a St. Marceline Fondue with parmesan crisp, raisin chutney and baguette. Heartier appetites may opt for the "Pig's Ass Sandwich" made with ham, cheddar, Fol Epi, B&B Pickles and chipotle aoli or the house version of Mac and Cheese. In fact it's hard to find a dish that doesn't have some kind of cheese in it, including desserts like apple pie with Keen's cheddar or the lemon tart with pistachio and goat cheese ice cream.
Casellula is a wonderful little spot. Owners Brian Keyser and Joe Farrell have done a terrific job creating a space that is worth stopping in after work or just kicking back with some friends. - Sam Sayegh
Neighborhood: West 40s
Entree Price: $10-15
Payment: Cash only
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