Let’s just call this the 14th Street spring. In the past two weeks we’ve seen B Too, Ghibellina, Black Whiskey, BakeHouse, and Taqueria Nacional open their doors, with many more on the way. The latest is Etto, a collaboration between Amy Morgan and Peter Pastan of 2 Amys and David Rosner and Tad Curtz of the Standard.
Curtz worked at 2 Amys for more than four years, during which time he and Pastan envisioned a restaurant where they’d like to be regulars (though if it draws the crowds of either owner’s other eatery, snagging a table could be tough). The 42-seat space already has the feel of a true neighborhood spot, albeit a neighborhood in Naples. Ceiling fans turn slowly above wooden tables Curtz fashioned out of Douglas fir, and a large haunch of 24-month aged prosciutto di Parma rests behind the bar waiting to be cut. The standing-room-only area may be the best place to work up an appetite, thanks to house-cured salamis dangling from shelves and stacks of fresh bread baked in the pizza oven that day.
The “house-made” label takes on a different meaning with the breads and pizzas (view the menu here). The team procured a grain mill that sits in the back of the dining room and is used to make all the flour for the doughs. While you won’t find the same Neapolitan DOC-certified pies served at 2 Amys, you can still order a simple thin-crust margherita that gets a slight char from the wood-burning oven. Heartier combinations include rapini and freshly made sausage or cotechino—a type of slow-cooked charcuterie—with fontina cheese and a runny egg. True to traditional Italian pizza-making, there’s no design-your-own option.
On the drinking side of things, vermouth is also made on the premises. Fans of the fortified wine can sip citrusy, dry white or sweeter red vermouth, or order a Negroni made with the latter and Green Hat gin. Start with a cocktail and a plate, or namesake etto, of salumi (an “etto” is 100 grams in Italian, roughly a quarter pound). Salads such as grilled eggplant and cauliflower with saffron and pine nuts could work as starters or sides; the “fishies” section serves anchovies, one of Pastan’s favorite foods, three ways: in citrusy salsa verde, with orange salad, and Gilda Radner-style, a play on the Spanish “gilda” tapa with anchovy, olive, and pickle.
Desserts are less pungent but no less fun. Finish up with Morgan’s homemade ice cream, which receives a light salt kick from prosciutto and candied pistachios, or “chocolate salami”: a tubular cocoa treat that’s studded with nougat to replicate fat, tied like a sausage, and dusted with powdered sugar.