Gottino = Small Glass of Wine
Much of the food is created upstairs at a small counter behind the bar. The two sides of the menu suggest different approaches to wine-bar dining. One side might be termed passive, including selections of charcuterie and cheese, most available individually for $6 or in combinations that don't represent much of a savings. At the head of the list is a choice between a good prosciutto and an even better Virginia ham ($12 each). Hand-cut in fat-rimmed shards, the ham one-ups the prosciutto in smoky depth of flavor and grease-oozing richness. Also note the post-Otto reappearance of the cured lard called lardo. Like Otto, Gottino wimps out at the prospect of serving it raw. Still, melting it over toast makes a spectacular crostino.
Jody Williams doesn't like to use the word restaurant when talking about Gottino, the focal point of which is a long white marble bar with stools at it. But it's not a wine bar, either --- it's got much too much food, of much too much merit, for eating to be deemed the ancillary activity here. You'll find two of the best crostini in town, one with a killer walnut pesto that's like crunchy peanut butter for grown-up's, another with imported stracchino cheese and sun-dried cherry tomatoes. There are no reservations, sometimes long waits and an agitated atmosphere that doesn't make Gottino right for all occasions. But for a meal built on small plates and Italian wines by the glass? It's just right.
— Frank Bruni