Today – first day of snow in NYC! Next week – a dozen days in Honolulu. Things are looking good. Monsieur P and I were on an Italian kick all weekend, starting with the newly opened Porsena for Friday dinner. I walk along this stretch of 7th Street frequently and enjoyed watching the restaurant slowly come together. There was a short ten minute wait at 8pm before we slid into cozy seats, booths on one side, chairs on the other, and rosemary on the table. After a taste of Otto’s Sunchoke & Escarole Salad, Monsieur P’s been all crazy for escarole. If it’s on the menu, we’ll order it!
So we shared Porsena’s Wilted Escarole Salad ($10), served warm, with shaved Parmigiano, fat croutons, crumbled bacon and an excellent tangy and super garlicky dressing. Olive oil and slices of warm crusty bread on the side.
After all the hype around this restaurant, the pastas were a slight letdown – none of the dishes sounded particularly exciting. The Cannolichie Con Una Marea Di Formaggi ($17), translates to “little twists with many cheeses,” and that it was. It was also however, fairly boring, and after a few bites of the same thing, I couldn’t help but wonder just how I was going to finish this. Perfectly al dente, yes, a mouthful of warm, creamy cheese melting in each bite, yes. But the exact same tastes over and over again? That’s why I’d recommend sharing.
I picked the spicy lamb sausage off Monsieur P’s dish of Orrechiette Con Salsiccia E Rape, ate it with my Cannolichie, and ahh, that’s the flavor excitement I was looking for! His dish was the better of the two, big ear-shaped pasta, with mustard greens and the crumbled spicy (only a little) lamb sausage. For this same price, I prefer Lupa or…
…Pate de Fegato ($9). It starts with duck fat English muffin bread, and not just a smother but a true mountain of Chicken Liver Mousse heaped over the hot, toasted bread. Fried egg and bacon to finish. It’s easy to make things delicious with fat, but you still have to love this anyways. On the subject of cholesterol, this is purely a once a year affair.
We had two pastas that evening. First the Tajarin ($15). Tajarin is like a very thin version of tagliatelle, perfect for the light though bold in flavor lamb ragu, a top of soft and cream black pepper ricotta, pistachios, and mint. What a crazy combination right? It worked amazingly…I bought the same pasta shape at Eataly, now all I have to do is figure out how to make the rest!
Next was Agnolotti ($14), the pockets filled with braised beef short ribs and Parmesan in a sage butter sauce. A handful of restaurants in the city serve agnolotti, but only Sorella does it “right,” giving the filled rectangular pasta pocket an extra fold over before cooking.
And that was Saturday night dinner. A few hours earlier I was in Williamsburg to try out Best Pizza, which Adam first wrote about on Slice.
The place was packed on a Saturday afternoon and I was the only lone diner there. This felt unusual for such a casual and mainly takeout pizza joint! There are few tables, and everyone was eating in big groups. I love eating alone, but this time it didn’t feel right, so next visit I’ll return with a friend. A Diet Pepsi (no Coke here) and a slice of the White Pizza ($3.50). The crust end is sprinkled with sesame seeds which get all toasty in the oven – addictive! Just enough ricotta, and heavy hand of caramelized onions. Then it was off to Radish for housemade ginger ale, and a slice of banana bread at El Beit.
On Sunday night we stayed home and cleaned the apartment (what I would give for more storage space!). We had to compromise part of my handbag closet to make room for linens. Boy, I knew that fantasy wouldn’t last forever It was frigid outside, so I ordered our Sunday night usual: PIZZA. We rotate our pizza order from a few places including Otto, Luzzo’s, and Bleecker Street Pizza (all offer very different varieties of pizza). But last night called for Two Boots, best know for their crunchy cornmeal crust and spicy sauce. One medium “Cleopatra Jones” ($18.50) with sweet Italian sausage, onions, roasted red and green peppers, and plenty of mozzarella. Two beers, a movie, and I think that’s quite an appropriate way to end the weekend.
21–23 E 7th Street
New York, NY 10003
95 Allen Street
New York, NY 11201
33 Havemeyer Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211
(718) 599 2210