This New Restaurant in NYC’s Lower East Side Has a Dedicated Focaccia Program and Italian(ish) Pastas

Credit: Ran Biran

Named for the Italian word “dimple,” Fossetta is a new natural wine bar and all-day dining destination on New York City’s Lower East Side. With such a name, it’s only fitting that the eatery boasts a “dedicated” focaccia program. Each of the four styles is made entirely in-house from a unique sourdough starter. Variations include Ricotta and Hot Honey, plus Garlic Cream and Fontina Cheese.

Credit: Ran Biran

Long-time friends, colleagues, and hospitality veterans Julie Park, Joshua Even, and Chef Charlene Santiago (also behind Williamsburg mainstay Cafe Colette) put together an ambitious and zealous menu comprised of Italian-leaning Mediterranean plates.

The array of Antipasti is robust, ranging from Peanuts with Ras El Hanout and Olives with Calabrian Chili Oil to pick at, as well as more substantial items like Egg Tonnato, Smashed Eggplant, and Marinated Octopus

Credit: Ran Biran

The Primi is where the meal starts to pick up. Fried Pig Ear is served with a zingy onion agrodolce, and Cauliflower and Red Onion are battered in polenta and finished with a hazelnut romesco. Fresh salads will be available year-round, based entirely on the seasonal selection, although the Mixed Chicories will forever live on the menu––they’re tricked up with ricotta salata and splashed with oregano vinaigrette.

Credit: Ran Biran

Seemingly a nod to the Roman Mother pasta, only four pasta dishes are offered. Glance around the dining room and unsurprisingly, one will notice they have the entire dining room in a chokehold––more specifically, the Chicken Liver Rigatoni with marsala cream and the guanciale-rich Bucatini all’Amatriciana.

The Secondi portion of the menu is home to heartier options such as Pork Belly Porchetta with sage, fennel, and salsa verde; Roasted Half Chicken topped with pickled peppers and jus; as well as Fluke Tranche topped with puttanesca.

With spotlights on Italian, French, and Spanish vintners, the curated wine collection emphasizes natural and biodynamic bottles. This is the perfect place to try some funkier, even downright weird varietals and blends, or lean into classic Rhones and Italian Primitivos.

Credit: Ran Biran

Design for the 55-seat interior involved bringing yet another friend into the fold: Park and one of her closest friends, Janelle Lee, spearheaded the vision. A mix of banquette-style booths, bar stools, and tables for up to four people create a convivial and relaxed atmosphere, encouraging friends to amble in and pull up a seat. Lofty ceilings give way to a custom walnut-backed bar, while Art Deco touches and bespoke ceramics further enhance the experience.

Whether it just be for a glass of wine or a full meal, Fossetta sets the tone for an exemplary evening.

Top Takeaways

Location: Lower East Side, New York City

Address: 198 Allen Street, New York, N.Y. 10002

Cuisine: Italian-leaning Mediterranean

Price Point: $$

Takes Reservations: Yes – via Resy

The vibe: Convivial and relaxed wine bar and dining space serving Mediterranean-inspired dishes, reminiscent of the type of place the veteran hospitality team likes to spend the bulk of their time. 

Our favorite thing on the menu: The focaccia is a can’t-miss; specifically, the Garlic Cream and Fontina Cheese. We also love the Bucatini all’Amatriciana and the Chicken Liver Rigatoni.

The attire: Smart Casual

Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner: Dinner: Seven days a week from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. (last food order at 10:30 p.m.). Will serve breakfast, lunch, and brunch in the coming weeks.

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