The "fiaschi" is the straw-covered glass container with a long neck used to hold wine. It is a familiar sight in Tuscany. In particular, the Tuscan city of Pistoia, just outside of Florence, where you will find the fiaschetteria, the place where Tuscans go to taste and buy wine. Now, the iaschetteria has come to America in the form of a restaurant in New York's Alphabet City.
Fiaschetteria "Pistoia" dates back to 1890. Family member Emanuele Bugiani says it was built "from the love of a passionate family for food, and most importantly, wine" where dishes, he says, are made with "passion" and "respect."
That passion shows up in the dining room where aged prosciutto is sliced before your eyes. It's bright, rich, salty and delicious. It's brought to the table with slices of rustic Italian bread, still warm from the oven, arriving in a brown sack. That simplicity extends to the space itself with modest wooden tables and a tin covered bar. The walls are lined with prints of things like minestrone and pasta e fagiou (both of which are on the menu). Look further and you will also find old photos of Pistoia.
Warm, friendly hosts with thick Italian accents treat each customer like you've been neighbors for years, anxious to share their knowledge of wine, as a basket of bottles is brought to each table and set it atop a wooden stool. Here you will find the "fiaschi," the house wine with its signature straw flask served in both red and white. It's also among the least expensive bottles in the basket.
Now that you've gotten your wine and prosciutto, which is aged 18-to-24 months, you can move onto the rest of your meal. One thing you should not miss is the Sformatino de Zucchine. It's a savory zucchini flan set atop a wonderful parmesan cream and topped with a parmesan wafer. We savored each heavenly bite. We also tried two of the pasta dishes. One was Spaghett Freschi Alla Bolognese, house-made pasta served with a rich beef ragout. The other, Maccheroni Sul Cinghiale, is made with wide noodles wrapped around chunks of wild boar in tomato sauce. Both are amazing. You will want to sop up any remaining sauce with more of that fresh Tuscan bread. We also shared a plate of veal scallopine in a white wine sauce that is served with crunchy potatoes.
Our meal at Fiaschetteria "Pistoia" in New York City ended with Biscottini e Vin Santo; almond biscotti that are dipped in wine, and a drink called Ponche Livornese, rum-infused coffee with lemon rind. And for just a moment, just a moment, I felt as if I was in Tuscany. Bellissimo.