Rose, apologies for writing this all up myself! I’ve been writing it up in fits and starts for over a week now and it just sort of ran away with itself.
I got there a few minutes before Rose, and I sat down at our table. The first thing I noticed was that this was an incredibly pretty restaurant:
There was a small problem of the lights over our table flickering oddly, but the staff re-seated us promptly and apart from that, the restaurant was lovely.
As we were looking over the menu, Rose drew my attention to a five-course tasting menu. There were ten options on the menu, and so we decided to do the tasting course for two, and each order five of the things on the list, so we could taste all ten. Since Rose had a bit of a cold, we asked also if they would be willing to split our dishes, which they did very graciously.
I also got a cocktail, “The Separatist,” which was made with bourbon, Amaro Ciociaro, and blood orange. It was quite delicious!
The first thing they brought out was a little bite of tuna that isn’t even ON that menu– it was seared beautifully. Rose mentioned that she wasn’t sure she had had tuna outside of sushi before, so this was exciting! We talked a little bit about foods that we hadn’t tried for whatever reason: always curious when you have two adventurous eaters together!
After this, came a salad that was quite fresh and delicious, and had excellent goat cheese on it– the kind of dressing that requires bread to sop up.
Fortunately for your two intrepid eaters, they also brought out copious amounts of bread. When I say copious, I mean that we did not want for bread the entire meal. Every time our bread tray dwindled, it was quickly replaced, with even more bread than we had had before, a la Strega Nona’s bread machine. There were beautiful rolls, Tuscan-style bread, and grissini, all homemade. Since it was an Italian-influenced menu (with a lot of New American touches), the bread was very welcome, because we wanted to swab most of our dishes clean.
After this came a lovely little calamari dish with a whole roasted cherry tomato and a zucchini puree.
Full disclosure: I love calamari, but hate zucchini. I’m just…not a friend to the squash family, I regret to admit. This little zucchini puree was so incredibly delicious that I reached for the bread basket again to make sure I got every little bit of it.
Zucchini and calamari was followed by a thin slice of raw beef wrapped around a luscious bite of robiola and truffle oil, with a little drizzle of fig balsamic on the edge of the plate.
Rose is very sensitive to dairy, so she doesn’t often eat things like this, but for this night, she’d said all bets were off. I don’t remember what I was talking about when they brought out this course, but Rose put a hand up in the air for me to quiet, and I did, and then I saw the look on her face…because this was like this amazing little morsel of meat-and-dairy heaven. The cheese was so creamy, and the meat was so tender, and I felt like I could have just eaten an entire plate of this forever and been happy.
Across the top of that dish is a long stick of crunchy pasta, which was really funny as we had been discussing crunchy pasta earlier in the evening, before our food started to arrive.
This was followed up with a tuna carpaccio– two tunas in one night!!
The carpaccio was crusted with herbs– we think some kind of chimichurri– and had caperberries on top. The tuna itself was very delicate in flavor, almost too delicate for the flavors that accompanied it, but the texture was really perfect.
Next, they brought us a ravioli.
It was full of tomato, cheese, and eggplant, and I think the thing I must say here is that while this was the least exciting of the dishes we were served, I genuinely don’t remember it being eggplant– again, one of the very few foods that I normally despise with every fiber of my being. It was accompanied by pine nuts, which led to a discussion about whether pine nuts have any true purpose. Being Italian, I side with the “Pine nuts are awesome!!” school of thought.
The next course was Spaghetti di Mare, a seafood pasta with clams and bottarga. Rose ate a little bit of it, but opted to give me her clams.
This pasta was perfectly cooked but verged on being too briny even for me, connoisseur of all things that taste like the ocean (Atlantic oysters are pretty much my favorite thing to eat ever), but I scarfed down all the clams and most of the pasta.
It was about this moment that I began to feel very full.
Painfully full. Like, so full I wished I had brought my other stomach. Curse you, pasta!
Our next course was a lamb chop with the most delicious little crunchy potatoes. We had been discussing crunchy potatoes before they brought them out to us, and we were delighted: Rose asked the waiter if they had made them just for us…but, as you can see, they were on the menu originally.
I ate about a chop and a half, but by now I needed to expand my belt significantly, and I think we were both feeling like we couldn’t eat another bit, which was shameful because the lamb was amazing. The staff was very generous though in taking some time before bringing the next course.
Which was beautiful amberjack served two ways: A tartare atop a sauteed filet. I ate my tartare, which was delectable, and a generous bite of my filet, and Rose tasted each, but we promptly had it wrapped: it was exceptionally good, but we were really just full to the absolute brim with food at this point!
Of course, there was still dessert left.
TWO DESSERTS LEFT.
I would like to say that it was around this time that the great San Rocco Feast Miracle occurred. Do you see that chocolate cake and that delectable little scoop of ice cream? Suddenly, I had room in my stomach again! I don’t know where it came from. We have a theory that it was a result of that little bottle of Elixir Vegetal I mentioned in my previous post: I had put a few drops in both of our water glasses so we could try it. But I managed to scarf down all of the first dessert…
…and all of the second.
Of course, now that you see the second– you see it’s a half a passionfruit with another little frozen treat beside it, and…well, passionfruit. I’m a sucker for passionfruit; it has got to be one of my favorite flavors in the entire universe.
We finished up our desserts and it was just absolutely lovely, and then– and I neglected to take a picture of this– they brought us shots of homemade limoncello with the check as a finishing touch. It was just like the most wonderful end to a delicious meal.
Rose and I decided that we needed to go on a walk after such extravagant dining, and we walked from 24th street up to Times Square, chatting and oohing and aahing over our meal in turns. It was not just a great meal but wonderful company to have such a culinary adventure with!
It was quite wonderful and if you are in the New York area, I would highly recommend it.