Cafe Muzio, with a sinking feeling @ Choptank.. a restaurant pivots

Sitting down at Choptank, I ordered a cocktail. It was fancy, taking two sentences to describe.. intrigued by the sound of it, I ordered one. 14 was the magic number that night, not just the $ of the cocktail, but how long it took to get it to the table, I had nearly resorted to drinking water by that point – even the more patient Mac would have been surprised. In a lovely cocktail glass, it was tiiiinnny – about the size of two shots.. In my seemingly gigantic hands, it wouldn’t last a minute.. I asked the waitress with a smile “perhaps I should place an order for my next drink now?!” What can I say, I like to drink.

cafe muzio via flicker ny eater photostream

With that in mind I cautiously celebrate a re-birth. The owner of Choptank has scrapped the overpriced and underwhelming seafood spot for an Italian flavor. A collaborative idea with a Dell’Anima alum. In this case, nearly any change would constitute an improvement.

NY Eater puts it best, titling its post “Muzio opens in the Bones of Choptank.”  From the outside, a meat slicer is the window dressing. And because it’s new, it is drawing a crowd of nyer’s who like being first to try a new place. even tho most things about the place are old. Here’s a copy of the menu, designed for smaller portions, big on flavor. Sure, while everyone has to have Chicken Liver Mouse, like everyone wanted Stoli in the 90’s.. there are some savory original choices..

a favorite recommended to RL and I by a graceful and lovely bartender (Natalia) was the Spicy Calabrian Sausage. Imagine a sausage served cold with a touch of tartness, it works.

Another dish we tried was this eggplant with chili’s mash. Enough heat on it to exhale a little fire afterwards..

On an unabashed deep-fry kick lately, we also went with the Arancini braised goat/saffron/tomato filling. While they were out of braised goat that day, the substitute was fine.

I’ve got a few more dishes on deck for my next visit.. including their Bone Marrow Sformato, and a Blood Sausage. If those are a hit – coupled with the potential of any dining spot with as nice an outdoor space as Cafe Muzio has, it might lift the ‘curse’ status of the space that has now seen the ‘bones’ of both Choptank, and of Bar Q before it, tossed into trash bin.

ps.check the hours before you go, ripe as an all day spot.. right now they only open at 4p. That is expected to change. 😉


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