Dear Food Diary:
S and I started as co-workers and through these past 9 years we’ve become close friends. She since has moved on to bigger and better things. We both felt deprived of each others company, so we set a double date dinner a couple Sundays ago. I knew just the place this lady with the most contagious laugh and her sweet hubby would enjoy. We made reservations far in advance and met at the swanky Gramercy Park Hotel where Danny Meyer does Italian.
Welcoming and spacious. Classic but not outdated. The decor was comfortable and warm.
Great bread and bread stick with a crisp bright olive oil.
Malfatti al Maialino: Braised Suckling Pig & Arugula
This dish took me back to Babbo, that memorable pasta filled evening from a couple years ago. Perfectly al dente pasta sheets are covered in this pork concentrate (this wasn’t just any wimpy sauce), so thick, it is almost a bit sticky on my lips. Tender pieces of pork that had absorbed all that liquid and the arugula added a bit of fresh pepper hints. This is sooo good, no wonder our waitress highly recommended it over the I ended up splitting with B, which was a good portion, but I wished I had more.
Maialino: Suckling Pork Shoulder with Rosemary Potatoes
Was extremely tender and juicy, but I couldn’t help but feel totally disappointed about the skin. It was like a chip that sit on top, not the full piece of skin/fat attached to the meat I was so looking forward to. The meat to skin ratio seemed to be off and it tasted more like chicharron than that crispy, crunchy and chewy texture I was craving. I was hoping for that sexy thing pictured on their website! Right? Maybe that’s the bigger pork feast to be shared? while this was the individual portion? I’m not sure, all I know is that I didn’t get that “ecstacy effect” suckling pig tends to have on me. Don’t get me wrong, this was good, the rosemary potatoes were nicely cooked in fat, BUT while eating “this little piggy” (what Maialino means in Italian) I couldn’t help but think about that little piggy or even that piggy.
Funghi Trifolati: Mushrooms, White Wine & Anchovy
Was one of the best mushroom side dishes I’ve ever had! The texture combination of oyster, hen of woods, portabella, maitake and shiitake mushrooms was a medley of earthy and fragrant tones. Meaty in different thickness levels and buttery. The acidity of the wine, the butter and that natural umami and sweet note. Couldn’t really taste the anchovy, but it added the salty component and let the beautiful mushrooms shine naturally.
Strawberry Rhubarb Tart with Vanilla Gelato
Had the perfect balance of sweet and tart. Nice crust and a creamy vanilla gelato. A classic. This felt like a “light” way to end the meal along side a cup of chamomile tea.
Overall the dinner was great and I really enjoyed it. Not everyday does a bite of pasta take me back to Babbo, this is definitely worth a try if you love pastas. One of these Sunday nights , I’ll have to go back for their Pasta Tasting $55. As for the suckling little piggy, another attempt will be made as a larger group to conquer what I hope is something better than the shoulder I got this time around…
S sent back her fish, which was poached really well, but she likes her fish more well done. They were very nice about it and replaced it with another one.
P.S. Chubby’s Rating: I debated between a 3.5 and a 4, it’s not quite a 4 since my suckling pig wasn’t what I expected. Maybe 3.75 would be more accurate.
2 Lexington Ave