Italian food just naturally brings people together, it makes you want to ‘dine,’ and take your time before leaving the dinner table. In the U.S., you can categorize Italian food into buckets: Grandma’s Italian which is the ultimate comfort food which relies heavily on red sauce, breading and cheese; and Italian-Italian which is less saucy and focused on using a few ingredients to bring out dishes most organic flavor. Don’t get me wrong, both ‘Italians’ are equally good and absolutely serve their purpose.
Focusing on the latter, I recently had a girl’s night at L’Artusi. This West Village hot spot books about 30 days out, however, the ambiance, service and food are well worth it! And, for a West Village restaurant the prices aren’t terrible (entrees average $25). Now, my lady friends can eat, and while we were dressed to kill, we made sure our pants weren’t too tight so we wouldn’t disappoint.
While we truly loved everything, some of the highlights included: a house-made ricotta appetizer, which was so smooth and sweet, it would have made a delicious dessert. The Roasted Mushrooms with pancetta, fried egg, ricotta salata is the definition of umami (and pictured below). This salty dish felt hearty but not heavy and the fried egg was the perfect ‘sauce’ to take it from a side dish to a stand-alone plate.
While I wish I could have tasted all the pastas, the Orecchiette with sausage, salumi, and pecorino was my fav. It was cooked just right and lightly sauced (note –a true Italian restaurant will sauce the pasta just enough so that it can be eaten with every bite but that there should be none leftover in the bowl when the pasta is gone. If you need bread to sop up your goodness - then there is too much sauce).
While its preparation is not highlighted on the menu it appears to have been brined and its tender saltiness falls off the bone. I think we all secretly wished we each had our own plate and weren’t sharing. Oh well….we know for next time!
The Takeaway: When you are in the mood for Italian - but not like Grandma used to make – try L’Artusi!
228 W 10th St,
New York, NY