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Tuesday
Oct272009

Dell'Anima, NYC 

Where: Restaurant Dell’Anima, NY, NY
What: Found the restaurant on Yelp on a random Tuesday night, had to give it a try.

Sliced veal with farro, corn and cherry tomatoesThis Search took me out to dinner in NYC. I go out to dinner a lot, but I am so often disappointed by average, overpriced food. I cannot tell you how many meals I have had in NYC that are just not worth it. Restaurants are very expensive, and if I go to a place charging $25.00-$30.00 for a main course, I want to be impressed. I would say most of the time, I am not. But I am never deterred! I am determined to find great places in NYC, well worth the money. So when I found Dell’Anima on Yelp (never been there? Check out www.yelp.com. GREAT foodie resource), I had my doubts despite the great reviews. I was not disappointed.

After a 20 minute wait, we were seated outside on the sidewalk in a small table for two. The table was a little crooked from the sloped sidewalk and it was totally charming. I felt like I was in Italy.

We started with a Bruschetta served with a Broccoli Rabe Pesto. And a glass of a nice, drinkable Rosé wine (don’t remember the name). It was all very tasty. Then we ordered a good bottle of red wine: La Villerina Secca, 2006.

I debated for some time whether or not to get a pasta dish. I try to limit my carbs when I can, cause I’m not exactly getting any younger (or thinner). But there it was on the menu. One of my favorite things to eat, ever: Sea Urchin.

I will dedicate a post to Sea Urchin at some later date. For now, suffice it to say that if something has sea urchin on the menu, I am ordering it. And tonight was no exception. Within 20 minutes, a plate of Homemade Linguini with Cherry Tomatoes, Mint, Chilies and Sea Urchin was placed before me. I know this isn't a great picture, but forgive me. It's hard to take night food photos. Anyway, trust me, it was glorious.
Sea Urchin pasta with chilies and mint.The sauce tasted bright from the mint and a little bit spicy from the chilies. And the creamy, impossibly oceanic and foie-gras-y Sea Urchin coated each strand of pasta in a way that butter never could. It was…Amazing.

But the rest of the meal was also extraordinary. Matt had Trenette pasta with fingerling potatoes, basil pesto and green beans. We shared an Heirloom tomato dish with Shaved fennel and Summer Beans. And then a stunning sliced Veal Loin with Fresh Corn, Nutty and cheesy Farro, Sorrel and Pickled Cherry Tomatoes. For dessert, Almond Cake with Sea Salt Ice Cream. Need I say more?

This restaurant is AWESOME. Go there. You won’t regret it.

Lovely almond cake dessert, eaten on a charming NYC sidewalk

Tuesday
Oct272009

Lombardi's, NYC

Where: Lombardis, NY, NY

What: I’m a native New Yorker and I’d never been to this NYC pizza institution

Lombardis Exceptional White Clam PizzaThis Search took me to NYC’s famous Lombardi’s Pizza. I'm a native New Yorker, but somehow I'd never been to this insitution, which is apparently "America’s First Pizzeria."

The placed was packed and felt a little tourist trap-y. I don't think there were too many New Yorkers in there. We waited about 15 minutes for a table. When it was our turn, the maitre’d announced my name over a loud speaker and I felt like I was in a Red Lobster in the middle of Wisconsin or something.

We were led to a table downstairs, which was nice because it was quiet and a little more intimate than the upstairs with the loudspeaker and throngs of tourists. We ordered two small pizzas: the white clam pizza (which neither of us had ever had, but which they supposedly did very well at Lombardi’s), and a pizza with homemade meatballs, ricotta cheese and the usual mozzarella, tomato sauce and basil.

Sausage and Ricotta Cheese PizzaThe pizzas came surprisingly fast. The tomato sauce-less clam pizza was loaded with little chewy clams. It was packed with garlic and olive oil. A little dry but full of flavor and delicious. Matt got an occasional clam that was just a little too chewy for chewing, but it didn’t bother him too much.

The meatball pizza was really exceptional. Big, fluffy meatballs sat on top of gobs of creamy ricotta cheese and super stretchy mozzarella. The slightly charred crust was firm enough to hold up the generous load of meat and cheese. Very yummy.

All in all, despite the touristy side of this classic place, I would recommend Lombardi’s to anyone, native New Yorker, or not. It’s a cross between Italian style and New York City style pizza and it’s great. It’s not cheap though, so don’t go looking for a good deal. Just go looking for some great pizza, and your name booming across the loudspeaker, telling you it’s time for some delicious…