September 10, 2007 | Insatiable Critic

 A New Hangout for Grape Nuts

 Accademia di Vino's pizza comes crisp off the grill.  Photo: Steven Richter

 Accademia di Vino's pizza comes crisp off the grill.  Photo: Steven Richter


I don’t want to jinx this jinxed restaurant address with a rashly optimistic judgment but Accademia di Vino could well be just what the neighborhood was waiting for: A comfy laid back spot to order a few $4 antipasti, a seriously al dente pasta to share and wine by the glass. Nice ending for a Bloomies’ shopping binge or after the Third Avenue movies.


Grilled pizzas are marvelous, crisp and not too cheesey. The Road Food Warrior invariably wants anchovies on his pie but  seems content with sopprassata, sweet peppers and ricotta – a judicious moderation of cheese. 


Every salad I tried is a winner except for a soggy Caesar one evening: The tri-colore with goat cheese fritters. Escarole with hazelnuts, mint and pecorino. Herbed ferro with tomato and cucumber. Prosciutto-Parmigiano fritters and a crunchy baccala cake with herb salad in a roasted lemon vinaigrette should not be missed and a cacio e pepe pasta is smartly Italian though I’d like my bucatini alla carbonara a little more lush, no cream, just creamier.


When the powers of Ollie’s couldn’t make Mainland work here, they tried refitting it as an Ollie’s. I was sad to see that surrender. I thought Mainland’s ambitious Sino-global fusion was fun and often delicious.  But just plain Ollie’s didn’t draw either.  Distantly related powers at ‘Cesca bought out the lease, making ‘Cesca’s Anthony Mazzola managing partner here too. ‘Cesca chef Kevin Garcia doubles as well. 



John Fanning is glad hander, spirit stirrer and top brass. Photo: Steven Richter


"I’ve always wanted to do something with wine," says Mazzola, former owner of Sutton Wine Shop on East 57th. He counts 500 wines from Italy by the bottle, and a solid list by the glass. Tastings, lectures, vintner dinners, and food and wine pairing sessions will roll out this fall. Coco Pazzo fans who’ve missed maitre d’ John Fanning will be pleased to find him here, a welcome at the door or tripping by with a bottle to top off your glass. 


1081 Third Av. at 64th St. 212 888-6333