**** Terrible old post with terrible Iphone pictures replaced by a slightly less terrible post with more terrible Iphone pictures. I didnt take my camera to this one since I wasnt planning to make a post *******
Just the other day I was giving a food tour of Hell’s Kitchen to a young couple from the Philippines, and the subject of this blog came up. I told them something I realized lately, that this is the weirdest blog they will ever encounter as its all about eating in 3 peculiarly different places: NYC, Italy, and Turks And Caicos, a place they were not even familiar with. “Its in the Caribbean” normally follows (Although technically its part of the Atlantic Ocean really). But when my wife is often busy at work with older customers and does not have the time for 20 questions she prefers to just follow with “Turkey” instead. Its not that I had any sort of plan when I started blogging, but now over a year later I find myself trying to please 3 different audiences somehow.
In a strange way Union Square Hospitality’s Maialino in the Gramercy Park Hotel connects all 3 subjects together, at least in my mind. With TCI becoming increasingly Roman, I finally had my first Carbonara there (In Via Veneto). In NYC, I now have all sorts of Roman options including Lupa, and even Eataly where you can get a decent Cacio e pepe. But when I asked on Chowhound recently where do Italians eat in NYC, I was not surprised that the answer is A) a lot of what we call Italian food, and B) Maialino, according to one distinguished Roman and Food Author Maureen Fant.
For me to come back to the same place twice in one year is almost unheard of. But I just had to impress my Aussie friend Tanya and had to play it safe. The only thing I dislike about Maialino is the bar area. Its always packed with beautiful single people. So whenever I have to pass by it quickly to my seat in the back, it always serves as a
gruesome reminder that I never had much of a single life. @NickAnderer, any chance you could give me some back door access next time. Anyway, another exceptional meal at one of New York’s exceptional Italian establishments.
Salumi Misti – You can select 3. We’ve chosen Finocchiona, Prosciutto di Parma, and Mortadella. All very good with the Finocchiona (salami with fennel) being my favorite.
Tonnarelli Cacio e Pepe – Beautifully simple, simply beautiful. Along with the carbonara perhaps my favorite pasta here. Perfectly creamy, peppery, and addictive. Having it sit there among the other pastas is like visiting the bunny ranch after trying out all the bunnies, and constantly picking you favorite. Sorry you had to read this Tanya, Mrs Ziggy,
Tortelli – Wow this was good. Little explosive mini pillows stuffed with pork and chicken liver drizzled with tasty balsamic oil and almonds. Poignant, surprising flavor. Not the type of surprise like Brian Boitano announcing he’s gay. Really surprising.
Spaghetti with lobster – Delicious! Not quite as sharp as the Lobster Fra Diavola I just had at my favorite restaurant in the Caribbean, Caicos Cafe led by a San Domenico veteran, but delicious nonetheless.
Oxtail – Roman style, slow cooked with tomato sauce. Tender, falling off the fork, absolutely scrumptious piece of meat you just want to attack. But we couldnt. We were stuffed. Just stared at it thinking how in the world I’m passing on this thing, reminiscing on the great oxtail we had at Cesare al Casaletto. Nick, thanks for correcting my pronunciation of Cesare al Casaletto at the Bonci/Parla event at Paulie Gee’s
In the past we also enjoyed the terrific Carbonara (better than the ones I had in Rome), octopus app with beans, Pappardelle, and a fine Garganelli al Sugo di Coniglio (yum). We skipped dessert this time but enjoyed the bread pudding over the more popular (I think) olive oil cake last time. Check out Maialino boys and girls