New school Italian

March 24, 2009

 

Perfection—Burrata, prosciutto and black truffle crostone

Perfection—Burrata, prosciutto and black truffle crostone

 

In case you haven’t heard already, I love Burrata. Yup, it’s the creamiest, cheesiest mozzarella on the planet. And I can’t resist its charms. Unfortunately, the other three gals with whom I was dining at Scuderia also loved it. Translation: we each had one intensely delicious bite of the crostone with Burrata, prosciutto and black truffles. You might ask why there was enough for only one bite each at $18 an order. We did. It’s the damn truffles. I probably would have been just as happy with a few drops of truffle oil instead, if it meant there were two crostone to an order.

 

Blah arancini

Blah arancini

Scuderia is a modern, downtown Italian restaurant owned by the Da Silvano daughter, Leyla. It’s located across the street from papa Silvano’s empire and is already drawing a bustling crowd. The menu is a little less than reasonably priced, and in some cases (the crostone) a lot. We ordered modestly, with two apps and four entrées and one dessert between us. There was no bread for the table and water glasses were not promptly refilled. No matter, we persevered. Our other appetizer, arancini (two fried rice balls) were completely lackluster.

 

Please put our pizza back in the oven!

Please put our pizza back in the oven!

 

 

 

 

 

Skirt steak 'n sauce

Skirt steak 'n sauce

 

 

 

 

 

I'd take a bowl of this paccheri anytime

I'd take a bowl of this paccheri anytime

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The entrées were pretty good. The paccheri with spicy sausage, peas and cream was a big hit (curiously, it bears a striking resemblance to a dish at Bar Pitti, across the way). The bucatini all’amatriciana was ok. The pizza rustica with potatoes, cauliflower and rosemary was totally undercooked, but may have been excellent with more time in the oven. The skirt steak with three “sauces” was fine, but we weren’t thrilled with two of the three. Our favorite was more of a pickle/caper relish, devoid of any sauciness or dipping capabilities. Why don’t they serve bread? Probably because none of the fashionistas eating there eat carbs. Oh well. We finished up with a sweet pizza slathered with nutella and marscapone. Of course, we cleaned that plate. Nutella makes the world go round. 

Dessert pizza...yum.

Dessert pizza...yum.

 

 

 

 

 

-Lisa

 

P.S. We were all fascinated with the door leading to the restrooms…

 

In case you don't speak English, they've got you covered.

In case you don't speak English, they've got you covered.

 


Old school Italian

March 18, 2009

 

johnssign

 

 

 

One of our favorite neighborhood restaurants is John’s of 12th Street. If you didn’t know any better you might walk right by. The jaunty neon sigh outside only proclaims “John’s,” with no mention of 12th Street. Once inside, you can easily imagine the same crowd slurping up spaghetti with red sauce (a.k.a. gravy), wiping their plates with homemade garlic bread, week after week. It’s that kind of place. It recently celebrated its 100th anniversary, which is more than I can say for most restaurants in NYC.   

johnsinside

 

 

 

Last Friday, Max and I went to John’s for dinner and were seated at one of those cozy mini-booths for two. Right off the bat, our server, JP, introduced himself and we started chatting. Talk about friendly and inviting, we pretty much wanted to invite him to have dinner with us!

I ordered the Burrata special appetizer (I cannot refuse Burrata, ever) and the chicken parm dinner with sautéed escarole instead spaghetti. Max had the old-school favorite, stuffed mushrooms to statrt and then the veal scallopine al limone. You don’t come to John’s for fancy, nouveau Italian food, this is the hearty good stuff you grew up on. And believe me, we cleaned our plates. 

But enough about the food, let’s get back to JP. He’s a charming, actor/waiter who’s been working at John’s for years and even lives in an apartment upstairs with his wife and two kids (of whom he speaks lovingly). If you’re ever in the neighborhood (East 12th St, just east of 2nd Ave), definitely stop in for some old-school Italian grub that won’t disappoint. 

 

-Lisa