A joint venture by ham importer Principe and wine producer Zonin, this casual wine bar specializes in top quality cured meats from San Daniele del Fruili and Italian wines. The interior resembles a stylish Roman cafe, with shiny red acrylic surfaces, a gleaming metal bar, and shelves stocked with books and magazines about Italy. Italian radio plays in the background, and the friendly chef chats easily in Japanese and Italian.
Although the menu features nicely prepared pizzas and pastas, pork - in all of its various salted guises - takes center stage here: capicola, mortadella, mild and spicy salumi, and two kinds of prosciutto crudo. Rosebud-pink slices of prosciutto secolo, aged for over twenty months and delicately scented with white truffle, melt in the mouth (Y900 for a small plate, Y1650 for a large one), leaving a lingering sweetness. Savory snacks like deep-fried olives stuffed with ground meat and spices, and buttery, flaky pastries filled with pancetta and hard-boiled eggs, provide tasty, unusual alternatives to the staid choices of olives and tomato-basil bruschetta.
The wine list is an exploration of Italy's viticultural landscape, with 45 wines from all over the country. Around ten are available by the glass, and the three-wine tasting sets for Y1100 offer excellent value.
by Melinda Joe