Despite opening just two weeks ago, Vino, a new wine bar from Upper East Side restaurateurs Massimo Stocchi and Vito Mezzatesta, was busy on a recent Sunday visit. Perhaps Stocchi and Mezzatesta have all the advertising they need from their consistently crowded Tuscan go-to, Mediterraneo, located next door. Vino, formerly a coffee shop, is a mercifully more subdued alternative to its noisy neighbor. At least for the time being. Wine director Massimiliano Caldini (Da Silvano), has put together an extensive 60 bottle wine list entirely from Italy, with their by-the-glass selections ranging from a pricier Brunello and Dolcetto d'Alba, to generously-poured $7.50 glasses of fruity Valpolicella. On the night we visited, the dining room, done up with alabaster tiles and lovely leather banquettes, was abandoned by patrons for a row of plain wood outdoor tables -- perfect for an al fresco snack and some choice people watching. (Unfortunately, we also overheard the woman next to us ordering a white wine with Sprite. These things happen.) The food menu's assortment of shareable small plates includes cheese and meat plates for grazing, and standouts like the Crostoni Burro e Alici ($3), aka marinated anchovies with butter, and the Melanzane Bella Nonna ($6), aka baked eggplant with tomato sauce and perfectly melted mozzarella. Vino stands to gain the same local popularity as its owners' other ventures, and, for all you lucky Upper East Siders, whether you're stopping through for a quick glass of wine to start your night, or having a night cap on the way home, Vino has got a cheese plate with your name on it.
Vino, 1268 Second Ave., (212) 744-5370