Gelso & Grand - Little Italy, New York, New York

In the heart of Little Italy at 186 Grand Street is a neighborhood restaurant called Gelso & Grand. We were mostly looking for a snack to tie us over versus a full meal. 

We sat at the bar and I had a glass of  2014 Verruzo Di Monteverro Toscana. I am not an Italian wine aficionado, I literally know nothing.  Although I know "tasting" wine is really to make sure it hasn't soured, not to see if you like it, I tasted it first and the flavor was exactly what I was after. I discovered online the wine is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Sangiovese from the Tuscan coast. It seems to be winter wine because it is heavy, but it was perfect for a light meal. 

We had to restrain ourselves and stick to our plan of not overeating because we were meeting friends for an early dinner. We ordered the Wagyu Beef Carpaccio to start. It does not come with bread or toast so we requested some and were pleasantly surprised by the basket of fresh house-made bread they provided. The carpaccio itself was 'pretty good'. Nothing to write home about. It seemed a little small for the price. I think it would have been better without the puffed wild rice that looked like unappetizing bugs all over the plate, although the crunch they it provided was interesting. 

Ok, so, a little disappointed by our first attempt and not sure we wanted to hang around, we decided to try one more appetizer each and be on our way. We both went with bruschetta. I had the duck and Mauricio had the  burrata. 

I found the duck ham to be excellent. I have never had duck ham before. The taste and texture of that one was similar to Spanish serrano ham and was perfect with the wild mushrooms.  The dish was a little difficult to eat because it was piled with mushrooms that dove off the bread when I tried to bite into it. I just decided to pick them up with my fork and put them in my mouth.

Mauricio liked his Burrata and said it was very good but he did not rave about it like I did the duck.

Their website states the restaurant is inviting and informal. However, the bartender acted like we inconvenienced her by sitting down at the bar. She frowned the entire time and even when we tried to be friendly she just stared at us and walked away. The waiters were chatting with each other non-stop while customers waited for attention. I know New York has a reputation for rude service but I have personally had excellent service almost everywhere. Overall, the experience was underwhelming. While my bruschetta is some of the best I've ever had and the fresh bread was excellent, those are not things to bring us back. 

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