Posts Tagged With: Da Andrea NYC

Why I Like to Take Groups to Da Andrea

Da Andrea TigelleWhat is your favorite Italian?  The most confusing, challenging subject since sex education in High School.  Not only I don’t really know, but I also don’t have a clue what is your definition of “Italian”.  Italian can mean 21 different things, for the 21 very different regions including the Italian region of Staten Island.  It could also be a steakhouse (Costata), a pizza joint (Marta, Don Antonio), or a fusiony place like Piora.  Many of the so called “Italian” dont really have much in common.  In fact whenever we talk to Italian chefs in Italy about what they do and where they eat in NYC, they often mention Italian restaurants.  Because to a chef from Piedmont, a Roman restaurant may be just as foreign as Korean.  Ok, maybe not.  But to them there’s no such thing as Italian restaurants.  They are just restaurants.

But if you would ask me which of our so called Italian restaurants I frequent the most, the answer is fairly simple. For lunch, Mercato.  For dinner, Da Andrea.  Ok, maybe not as simple as I thought, as you can see.  Da Andrea is not what I would call a foodie destination.  Its a fun, fairly popular family operated neighborhood joint specializing primarily in Emilia Romagna cooking (owners from Bologna).  We’ve been frequenting Da Andrea since they were located on Hudson street deeper in the Village.  Back then they were half their current size, with lines around the block sometimes.  They didnt take reservations then, and they dont do now, unless you are 4 or more.  When I have to pick a place for groups between 4 and 12, Da Andrea is the first place that pops to mind.  Why?Da Andrea Calamari

1)  As busy as they are on a nightly basis, it’s easy to reserve large tables with a phone call.  Otherwise, trying to reserve large tables in Manhattan is like having a three day root canal

2)  It’s cheap.  At least for NYC standards.

3)  The food is generally good and family/group friendly.  My idea of family style dining is not Carmines where the dishes are super-sized low quality.  Regular size dishes can be just as family style.  You just need to know what to order and how many of them.  At Da Andrea, we must get the Tigelle, Modenese style baked to order flat buns that come with Prosciutto di Parma.  The simple, always fresh grilled calamari here is fantastic.  The tower of veggies is normally a big hit.  And as far as pastas go, the Pappardelle with sausage ragu and truffle oil has to be one of the most popular pasta dishes in town.  Its my guilty red sauce pleasure.  Although, admittedly I didnt detect much truffle flavor or scent last time.

4)  The house wine is good (and cheap)

5)  You can linger.  Chances are your large table isnt booked for another party, so you can take your time.  In fact last time, our waitress advised us to order our mains later on, in order to have ample time between courses.  You can take your time here

6)  100% success rate.  If it aint broke, why fix it.  Generally, everyone enjoys this place (you can tell), and at the end of the day that is really what counts

Da Andrea SpaghettiDa Andrea CapreseDa Andrea Veggie tower Da Andrea Pappardelle Da Andrea Cavatelli

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Da Andrea, Meet my New Canon T4i

Da Andrea - TiramisuWell, not really.  That was the dream title I was envisioning, but the jew in me somewhat missed the fact that B&H closes at 2:00 pm on Friday.  My brilliant plan of going to B&H after work, proceeding to take pictures of pretty flowers and painted rope, followed by dinner at Da Andrea the next day did not go exactly as planned.  Instead its: Da Andrea, Meet my (suddenly battery challenged comatose) Iphone 5.

So earlier this month I was asked by members of a Trip Advisor community to pick a restaurant for a meet up.  Sort of a no brainer.  I’ve been to Da Andrea about 8-9 times now, probably more than any other place in the city.  Second only to Caicos Café in Turks and Caicos on the planet (it feels weird writing that.  I frequent a place in some remote island more than any other place in NYC.  Poor kids, now have to rely on their grandparents for continued education.  Well, thats their problem!).

But an annual trip to Da Andrea, brainchild of a trio from Emilia Romagna, has become routine.  This routine started in the old location on Hudson street where we stood on line to get inside a shoe box that did not take reservations.  Now, double the size (to a her’s and her’s closet) and still the same old line of village people trying to get in.

We started with the usual, one of the MUSTS especially with a group, the Tigelle.  Baked on premises tasty buns with some of the most delicious prosciutto you will eat in NYC.  A very shareable and tasty snack.  The always terrific tower of grilled veggies followed, along with the grilled calamari and octopus salad which I enjoyed more this time than last year (especially the former)

But I’m here for one of my old time favorites, homemade Pappardelle with sweet sausage and truffle oil (half a plate pictured below).  Its like a nice glass of wine where the scent of the truffles hits you right away, signaling the level of yumminess to the brain before you even taste it.  I order this in other places such as Il Melograno in midtown which I enjoy, but no one makes it like in Da Andrea.  Another winner was a rich but light risotto special.  Tiramisu here is top notch as well.

I noticed recently they started taking reservations online which is great, but on this one I rather stick to tradition and start the process with a “Buona Sera”.  Great food, great new friends, what else can I ask for.  A new camera, which I got a week later.  Buona Sera friends, and enjoy more Iphone 5 pics

Da Andrea - Pappardelle Da Andrea - risotto Da Andrea - veggie tower Da Andrea - Tigelle

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Da Andrea – Da bomb!!

Da andrea is not something I just tried for the first time.  In a city with 32,473 dining options (I counted – no, I dont need to get a life, I love counting) the list of new places to try greatly overpowers the short list of places I keep coming back to.  I’m always so tempted to try something new.  And then there’s Da Andrea, the one place that became a family annual.  The only place.

I’ll make it simple here with Da Andrea, skip the mambo jumbo and just tell you what to order.  I really hope I spelled mumbo jumbo correctly as I’m still new to this blogging thing and I dont want to embarrass myself.  I also have trouble with “Brouhaha” but I’m not gonna need to use it unless I run out of food description adjectives and say something like ” there was a brouhaha in my mouth” – lets hope we dont go there.  But I digress, here it goes… sorry got no pictures here, just google em…

Le Tigelle – Made on the spot buns of heaven, with prosciutto imported from Parma.  Tried this in other spots – Feh!  Oh oh did I mention that the owners/cooks are from Emilia Romagna, the food capital of earth.

Grilled Calamari – Yum!

Homemade Pappardelle with sweet sausage – So good! a brouhaha in my mouth!!! with that truffle oil essence, cooked to perfection goodness.   A must for me each time I’m there and I’m craving it right now.

Homemade is the name of the game here.  Homemade Gnocchi, Cavatelli, Ravioli to name a few.  I’m shocked at how low the prices are for this stuff.  Da Andrea is my favorite cheap Italian in New York city

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