'inoteca, a Lower East Side institution, is always bustling and crowded when I walk by – and now I know what all the fuss is about. Good food, service, and atmosphere at reasonable prices will always win and this place (which has spawned two sister restaurants around town) has such a combination.
We shared a plate of five bruschette and I found the pate and riccota with tomatoes to be exceptional. Jim and I shared a porchetta sandwich, which, though it paled in comparison to the highly (and justifiably) praised Porchetta version, was still great and served on excellent bread with a pile of real fresh grated horseradish (which we initially mistook as a heart clogging pile of cheese).
We also shared my favorite meal of the night, a polenta with poached eggs, charred ramps and parmesan. It was a simple dish that won me over with its fresh ingredients, perfectly cooked eggs, and garlicky greens.
I tried the yummy soda, Chinotto here, but they also serve Italian beers and reportedly boast an impressive list of wines for which they're famous.