By Hannah Reimann with Caroline Benveniste
The culinary experience at this lively “Espresso Bar—Market—Wine Bar” is fun, health-conscious and more complex than one would expect from an establishment that doesn’t have a kitchen on its premises. All the dishes are meticulously assembled from various Tuscan ingredients and the presentation is elegant. Don’t expect to be rushed when you come here—quality comes first! If you have been to a salumeria in Italy, this will be familiar to you, but in a more elegant incarnation, filled with light, flowers, fragrance and fashionable décor.
For breakfast or a late coffee, a cappuccino and plain croissant are house favorites. Shakerato—a shot of espresso shaken with sugar over ice with lemon zest—is an unusual and delicious option, but all the usual espresso drinks are offered as well. There are more tempting pastries including a pistachio croissant (made with pistachio cream imported by Sogno Toscano) and a surprisingly scrumptious gluten-free almond chocolate muffin.
Lunch is always busy at Sogno Toscano. The Schiacciate (Florentine flatbread) sandwiches are satisfying, generously heaped with thinly sliced cold cuts or the right amount of Yellowfin Tuna, layered with various combinations of cheese, vegetables and condiments. There is always a vegetarian offering, and all the sandwiches come with fresh greens on the side. Mortadella with pistachios, Guanciale, Culatello di Zibello (the most tasty and tender cut from the hip of the pig), exceptional salami and various prosciuttos are featured in the sandwiches and taglieri (salumi and cheese boards) and can also be purchased at the counter by weight. No preservatives are used and nothing is overly salty.
For dinner, start with a Sogno Spritz, a brut Treviso Prosecco or Pinot Nero with the outstanding Burrata e Crudo. The plate looks small, however, the Prosciutto di Parma, aged for 24 months, and burrata are rich—making this a good shareable dish.
I’m most often a red wine drinker and the house Chianti DOCG (Tenuta L’Ugo) 2012 is much higher quality than you might expect. The two Chianti Classico wines are delicious, too. The house white is a bright, dry Vermentino Uve Rara. All the wines are from Tuscany.
There is a Rosè and Orange Wine section of the wine list, and from there, we selected the refreshing Maluna Trebbiano Toscano (Natural) 2020, paired with mouth-watering, seasoned cheeses like pecorino di fossa which nicely balanced the mineral quality of the wine.
We enjoyed the Salumi and Formaggi Experience with glasses of Barbera D’Asti (Arbiola Carlotta) DOCG Superiore 2015. I ordered a side of my favorite cured meat, the bresaola (an air-dried, salted beef), which melts in your mouth, on a bed of arugula. This autumn, the taglieri are served with fig mustard, but the condiments are rotated seasonally. The wines will change with the seasons, too. The delectable fig and onion mustards are for sale by the jar, two of many Sogno Toscano brand products available on shelves in the store.
The full-bodied 2017 Assiolo Bolgheri Rosso and 2013 Riverbero Superiore Bolgheri Rosso (both DOC Campo Al Noce) are paired best with the full taglieri of cheese and cold cuts. You might want to add a side of Prosciutto Toscana. Top anything you order with a freshly shaved Italian truffle for an extraordinary treat.
For dessert, the Tiramisu tart, fruit tarts and cannolis are hard to resist. Even if you’re a bit full, give in, share one, and look forward to trying others during your next visit.
The weather is getting colder and the al fresco tables and chairs are coming inside. Hot soups are being introduced. The counter bar near the espresso machine will be a place for networking and socializing over an aperitivo spritz or glass of wine, just like in Italy.
Sogno Toscano is a cashless establishment. It is open Tuesday through Sunday, 9am to 10pm, closed on Monday to accommodate local chef tastings.