Masseria Dei Vini is part of La Masseria Group, which was formed by childhood friends and natives of Capri, Italy Giuseppe (Peppe) Iuele (formerly of La Locanda dei Vini), Vincenzo (Enzo) Ruggiero (formerly of Bice NY), and Executive Chef Giuseppe (Pino) Coladonato and native of Rutigliano, a small town near Bari in Puglia, who met his future partners while working as the Head Chef at Sette Mezzo. The partnership officially formed after the closure of Sette MoMA, with the trio opening La Masseria in the Theater District in September 2004. Since joining forces, they have opened two cafés operated by Vito Coladonato and three additional restaurants, La Masseria Rhode Island in 2009, La Masseria Palm Beach Gardens in 2016, and a second Manhattan restaurant, Masseria dei Vini in Hell’s Kitchen in 2014.
Like its sister restaurants, Masseria dei Vini, located on 877 9th Avenue, is named for the pugliese word for fortified farmhouses that also serve as hotels or restaurants that use only farm-fresh ingredients to create classic Italian dishes. The 9th Avenue restaurant is a more contemporary take on its predecessor and features daily crudos, a large selection of house-made pasta, traditional dishes from Puglia and a large selection of wines mainly from Italy. Many proteins are created in a Ferrara wood-burning pizza oven that has lava rocks from Mount Vesuvius giving the dishes a distinct taste. Honestly, this menu is EXTENSIVE with so many great options it’s impossible to narrow it down to just one; I recommend checking out their menu here.
My guest and I opted for the tasting menu so that we can get some of the best Masseria dei Vini has to offer. The dinner consisted of three dishes, each paired with it’s own wine, and finished off with a wonderful dessert. Upon taking our seats a plate of salami & parmesan cheese with focaccia bread (or Salamino & Parmigiano con Focaccia) was brought over to our table. One bite of that parmesan and I could tell that this place used cheese of the highest quality (it also paired really well with the salami and focaccia) and I couldn’t wait to see what they brought out next.
Our first official dish was Grilled Baby Octopus & Cuttlefish on a bed of Fava beans pure' (also known as the Terra Mare del Tavoliere). Just based on this dish alone, I think everyone who eats at Masseria di Vini should try one of their seafood dishes. I’m not even a fan of octopus but the light grill on the octopus was perfect and the cuttlefish was light as well; I devoured this dish and will only order octopus from Masseria dei Vini from now on. This dish was paired with Etna Bianco "Erse Doc," a nice white wine that was slightly dry, but really enhanced the flavors of the seafood.
The second dish was the Schiaffoni al Ragu' di Agnello e Porcini (Large tube shape pasta with Lamb & Porcini mushrooms ragout). Masseria were two-for-two with this one in that I never really liked mushrooms until I had this dish; everything blended together so flawlessly. The lamb and the mushrooms blended with the pasta perfectly and the red wine it was paired with (Rosso Toscano IGT "Zingari" Petra, Toscana, 2018) really took the dish to another level.
For the main course we were served Seared Duck Breast with Vin Santo Sauce (also known as the Petto D'Anatra al Vin Santo) paired with a red; Negroamaro IGT, "Orfeo", Paololeo, Puglia, 2017 to be exact. The duck was tender and the Vin Santo Sauce gave it a nice, sweet taste. If it’s one thing I learned from the first two dishes, it’s that Masseria has all of their flavor pairings on lock and it's not only with how they flavor their dishes, it carries into their wine pairings as well. This red wine was a little sweet and broke down the duck nicely. The way to enjoy this dish is definitely paired with this wine.
The tasting concluded with dessert, a lemon glazed custard sponge cake paired with Brachetto d'Acqui, Braida dessert wine. Flawlessly prepared dessert and the dessert wine literally felt like the icing on the cake.
Masseria dei Vini is truly a one-of-a-kind restaurant that needs to be experienced. Words really can't replicate the adventures of flavors your palette will be taken on at this top-of-the-line eatery. You can instantly tell that everyone from the chef to the servers cares about your experience and will go above and beyond to make sure you have the classiest and best-tasting meal you’ll have for a long time. If you want some of the best Italian in New York, there’s no doubt in my mind that it’s right here. masseriadeivini.com