Chef Marc Forgione’s Peasant Wine Bar Combines Grapes and Italian Cuisine – Robb Report
For two decades, the peasant from New York’s Nolita neighborhood has kept his flame burning, becoming a beacon of wood-fired cooking in the city. Frank DeCarlo’s restaurant served rustic Italian that differed from the red sauce in Little Italy. When his lease arrived in 2019, DeCarlo decided to retire and announced he would be closing the space. It was then that Marc Forgione intervened.
The owner of an eponymous restaurant and American Cut was a big fan of Peasant and agreed to take over the restaurant and maintain the rustic cuisine that made it so popular. After launching its Paysan in 2020, Forgione opens a new chapter for the restaurant. He took the old wine cellar and transformed it into an intimate wine bar that celebrates the wines of Italy.
The wine bar will feature selections by the glass from each of the country’s 20 wine regions and showcase some lesser-known indigenous varietals. You can taste a Pecorino from Abruzzo, a Pigato from Liguria, a Nerello Mascalese from Sicily, a Fianio di Avellino from Campania and more. Scott Woltz, Forge Hospitality’s Beverage Manager, will curate the long list which will also include vintage selections.
Forgione will use the peasant’s hearth next door to create a menu focusing on charcuterie, wood-fired dishes and breads. The chef will also dig into the name of the restaurant, serving up his version of Italian peasant cuts. The small “Quinto Quarto” menu emphasizes offal, with dishes such as pork head with fennel pickles; tripe with pecorino and mint; and tongue with horseradish and apple salsa verde.
The full menu is divided into antipasti, primi and secondi. Antipasti will include oxtail with bone marrow and mostarda; prosciutto with olives and breadsticks (breadsticks); and baby octopus with hot pepper and breadcrumbs. The primi will feature pastas like vodka rigatoni alla made with broccolini and basil; fra diavolo lobster; and roast lamb stew with gnocchi alla Romana. The secondi offers fire-cooked dishes like chicken with a wood-roasted honey-crispy apple stuffing; and suckling pig with kabocha, romanesco and salsa verde.
The Peasant Wine Bar made its debut yesterday and will be open Monday through Saturday at 5 p.m. each evening.