Dopo East is the East Side’s upscale version of the popular Times Square restaurant Dopo Teatro, which is Italian for “after the theater.”
The same owners and executive chef Giuseppe Moschiano have created Dopo East as a white-tablecloth northern Italian restaurant set on the ground floor of an East Side brownstone, with an exceptional and extensive wine cellar and small event space in the basement of the building.
The restaurant is a long, narrow room with a glass enclosed garden in the rear. The walls are decorated with paintings and lithographs from the Artioli Findlay gallery.
A well-stocked bar as one enters, with two Enomatic system dispensers that preserve the quality of opened wine bottles until the contents are finished so that Dopo East can serve premium wines by the glass, completes the layout.
The main reason I stopped at Dopo East was its wine cellar and list of exceptional wines.
The list has about 700 wines, predominantly Italian, many from small producers that create excellent wines from grapes that are not widely known except to aficionados, but will enhance a dinner’s quality.
Yes, there are outstanding Brunellos and Chianti Classicos and barberas and Amarones and pinot grigios and chardonnays from every Italian viticultural region.
But there are also exceptional lesser known wines like Falanghina from the hills of Campania (which is what we had with our meal) or Greco di Tufo from Feudi de San Gregorio, Falerio Colli Ascolani from Saladini Pilastri, Vernaccia di San Giminiano, and Morellino di Scansano Campo Maccione from Rocca delle Macie, Gattinara from the Piedmont vineyards of the Travaglini sisters, Sagrantino di Collepiano from Arnaldo Caprai, Tanca Farra from Sardinia’s Tenute Sella & Mosca and many many others.
The cellar also features wines from other parts of the world; France, Spain, Germany, Chile, California, New York state, Washington state and others are nicely if not abundantly represented. But, in my opinion, if you are going to have a classic Italian dish, stay with classic Italian wines.
For fish and seafood, there is nothing better than a chilled glass of Falanghina. Falanghina is a light, refreshing, and bright wine from an ancient grape variety of vitis vinifera used in Italy for white wines since Roman times. It is cultivated mostly in Campania, north of Naples, and is commonly consumed throughout southern Italy. The vines thrive in the warm Mediterranean climate and the volcanic soil around Mount Vesuvius.
On the west coast of Tuscany, the Maremma hills are plentifully planted with Morellino, the local name for a sangiovese varietal, in an agriculture-based economy that goes back to the early 16th century. Rocca delle Macie is one of the best producers of Morellino di Scansano and the wine has a brilliant ruby red color and an intensely fruity bouquet of wild red berries, licorice, plums, spices and violets, with a wonderful freshness.
If you decide to splurge, go for an excellent Brunello di Montalcino. In the cellar I saw a Col d’ Orcia Brunello, created in his historic estate, by my friend Conte Francesco Marone Cinzano. Poggio al Vento Brunello di Montalcino Riserva is a pre-eminent Tuscan wine with fabulous aromas of dried cherries, rose petals, truffles, and orange peel with hints of dark fruits. Full body, very fine firm and silky tannins with a mineral and orange peel undertone complete the attributes of this beautiful wine.
Another excellent wine that I saw in the cellar was Ornellaia, a Super Tuscan wine also created in Tuscany in the Bolgheri DOC. Ornellaia is considered one of Italy’s leading Bordeaux-style red wines. Tenuta Dell’ Ornellaia is located in Northern Maremma on the Tuscan coast, overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea.
The bottle prices are fairly on par compared to other similar high-end New York City restaurants, no matter how rare the wines are.
If you are not very familiar with some of the offerings, ask for help from the sommelier. It is well worth it and you might be surprised by how well regional wines accompany particular regional dishes.
345 E. 62nd St.
Tuesday–Saturday noon to 4 p.m.
Tuesday–Thursday & Sunday 5 p.m.–10 p.m.
Friday & Saturday 5 p.m.–11 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday noon–4 p.m.
Manos Angelakis is a well-known wine and food critic based in the New York City area.