Cafe Ino in New York's East Village for Fabulous Soups, Bruschetta & Robust Italian Wine
I discovered ino (aka cafe ino) recently (yes, the i is supposed to be a small one) in New York’s lower east side as I was on a mission to find the best chocolate in the area in the height of a craving. Later in the day, it was time to confirm a dinner venue with a friend who was coming in from the burbs. A local shop owner in the East Village about my age, and who swears he is a “foodie,” sent me to ino, a small (and I mean small) cafe/restaurant that I wouldn’t likely discover on my own.
Located on Bedford Street across from another cute Italian place we couldn’t get into, the cafe was conceived by owners Jason and Jennifer Denton while at a friends wedding in Italy.
Wandering into a small wine bar, paninoteca they discovered a wealth of savory panini, tramezzinni, bruschetta and robust Italian wines. They fell in love with the simplicity and style of Italian wine bar culture and soon the idea for ‘ino was born.
Now, it’s over ten years old and while you can’t get a full blown meal (in other words, don’t expect chicken, steak or seafood to be on the menu), it’s a great place if you want to sample fabulous wine by the glass over salads, sandwiches, soups and tapa-sized snacks.
Panini, bruschetta, cheese platters and antipasti are regulars, but unusually prepared. In other words, alongside your fennel salad with rucola, goat cheese and aceto, you can get healthy paninis, bruschettas and tramezzinis loaded up with all sorts of yummy things, including caponata and goat cheese, basil pesto, asparagus truffle oil and parmesan, sweet onion and cacio, roasted garlic, tapenade walnut and sun-dried tomato, summer squash, chili and mint, white bean and basil, sweet pea and pecorino and so on. You get the idea.