When 15-year old ‘ino, a forefather of the NYC panini craze, closed earlier this year, fans of its fabled truffled egg toast were bereft. Dry your tears, ‘inophiles! The dish ($9) is still available at sister restaurants Corsino Cantina in the West Village, which serves it during weekend brunch; and for lunch every day at ‘inoteca on the Lower East Side.
The genius lies in the luxurious flavors that combine from a simple preparation: a well in the middle of lightly toasted Pullman bread provides a bed for an egg yolk. The toast is then draped in Fontina cheese and drizzled with truffle oil before heated. When eaten, each forkful yields a thick slab of bread swaddled in melty cheese and bathed in runny egg with an unctuous, truffley essence. The crisp snap of accompanying asparagus slivers cap a rich start to the day. (An optional addition of bottarga for an extra $2 lends a salty finish).
Ten year-old ‘inoteca and four year-old Corsino are also known for their homemade pastas, mains such as porchetta, and terrific salumi and cheese platters. Both feature sidewalk terraces perfectly poised for neighborhood people-watching and al fresco dining. And while owner Jason Denton has hinted at a return for the original ‘ino, until then, his other fine restaurants are providing a happy refuge for the cafe’s displaced fans.
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