img_0662 On a recent trip to the West Village, my party and I stumbled upon a tiny Italian restaurant by Downing and Houston Street. Nestled on a quiet street adjacent from the casual hustle and bustle of the concrete jungle, this cozy restaurant does little in a way to advertise the true gem that it really is. Other than the red door and beautiful bay windows, you may have overlooked it. But like anything in the city, there is always a charm and delight found in the most unlikeliest of places. Walking in, the space, while small and intimate, never felt overcrowded or too loud. In fact, the size of Cotenna actually added to the overall characters and allure that made me want to dine. As soon as I stepped inside, I felt like I was in a small winery in Pisa, Italy. But to your surprise, it was not because of the charming aesthetics of the place. Instead it was because of the food. Like most places, I have that luring eye where I cannot help but glance at other people’s dishes. But at Cotenna, the simple, yet tantalizing aroma had me at peace. It was then that I knew I made the right decision to dine at this establishment. Now before I get into the food, I have to talk about the staff. At Cotenna, the overall establishment serves as both a wine bar and an Italian restaurant. With a plethora of options, the wine and serving staff were to say the least, incredible. Our waiter at the bar was very attentive and the waiting staff was incredibly polite. But what really sweetened the deal was their knowledge and recommendations on the wines. As a personal wine connoisseur, I cannot help but indulge myself to a delightful crisp bottle of red wine. Not only were they able to find me a bottle, but they also did it in a way that it paired well with my meal. Service like that is just one in a million, especially within New York City. As for the food, one of the best things about this place is that it is surprisingly inexpensive. Unlike most places in West Village neighborhood, almost all items and dishes were within the range of $10 to $12 dollars. Not only that, but the proportions for each dish were quite sizable. During my dining experience, my party and I started off with the Mozzarella Pomodoro Basilico. That is a Buffalo mozzarella and heirloom tomatoes seasoned with pepper, salt, and basil. Needless to say, it started the night off well. From there, I had the aragosta E Avocado as an entree. For those who are not familiar with the dish, aragosta E Avocado is a perfectly steamed lobster tail and lobster pieces resting on a verdant bed of arugula and accompanied by slices of avocado and lemons on the side. From one simple bite, I was in heaven. Now While I only had a taste of the Fettuccine Ai Funghi, I highly recommended this dish, especially for you pasta lovers out there. So if you are ever out in the West Village and are looking for a fantastic Italian food, I highly recommend you check out Cotenna. Trust me, this is the Italian experience you do not want to pass up.