Friday, April 5, 2013

L'Apicio

I'm a very lucky gal. Why? I'm surrounded by people who are willing to take me out for my birthday. People who love me and actually want to hang out with me. Yay! For this dinner, I picked L'Apicio because I was very fond of my meal at  Dell'Anima and chef Gabe Thompson. Also, we all love fresh pasta so this was a good choice.


As we looked over the menu, they served us house made ricotta cheese and chutney with crackers. A nice small snack until we stuffed our faces with plate after plate of food.
For our appetizers, we started with the Tuna Carpaccio ($12) with artichokes and olives. It was just okay. Nothing spectacular but still tasted fine. Freshness was not an issue. It just didn't pop.
The Arancini ($8) with sausage, fontina, and sage was excellent. Crisp little balls of rice dotted with meat, cheese, and herbs. It was so crunchy on the outside but really creamy on the inside. Perfectly executed, well seasoned, and very good.
We also ordered the Watercress Salad ($13) with roasted carrots, cumin yogurt, and pistachios which was very refreshing and light. Nicely dressed and the perfect contrast to the carbohydrates and meat we were about to consume. The last appetizer we ordered was the Roasted Mushroom Polenta ($16). Normally, I'm not a polenta fan but I heard too many good things about the polenta here. And they were right. This polenta was different. It was very loose in texture and smooth. Not gloppy and thick as I had in the past. The delicious mushrooms, chilis, and ricotta salata cheese added a good depth of earthiness and richness to the dish. This was quite a large serving that was perfect to share.
And now our main courses. I had the Papardelle with Lamb Shank Ragu ($18). Large flat ribbons of perfectly cooked pasta mixed with tenderly rich braised lamb meat in a thick sweet and savory tomato sauce. Shavings of pungent cheese on top sealed the deal. This was really good. Perfect for a cold night. All of my tastebuds were crying out for joy. I really enjoyed this dish.
Mr. M&P had the Gnocchi with Osso Bucco Ragu ($16) which was very similar to my dish except for the potato based dumplings and the beef sauce. Otherwise, it was very good as well but much heavier. Those gnocchi can get to you after awhile. He had no qualms polishing it off though.
Mrs. Pattis Magician had the Lamb Chops Scottadito ($34) with potatoes and a mint pesto. The size of the lamb chop was quite generous even with the double bone. The meat was cooked perfectly to her specifications and she was very happy with it.
Mrs. Pastry Chef was feeling a little under the weather so she picked something nice and light. One of the specials of the night was the tortellini in broth but a savory pork broth. This was the kind of "chicken noodle soup" that she needed. Light but no lack in flavor. Just enough to make her all warm and happy inside.
Mr Booze Pusher had the Branzino ($22) with artichokes, olives, and preserved lemons. Really nicely cooked fish with crispy skin and a light salad underneath. People looking for a lighter main course but is still interesting and well executed should look no further than the fish menu.
A side of the broccoli rabe ($8) was ordered because I just really love this vegetable. Bitter but so much more complex than that. Paired with garlic, chilis, and sausage pesto, it was almost a full meal on its own.
And what's a birthday without some dessert. Just a small piece for everyone to share because we always eat so much at dinner that we usually can't make it to dessert. Here's the Chocolate Hazelnut Ice Cream Cake ($9) with salted caramel gelato and praline hazelnut cake.  A really nice sweet (but not too sweet) end to a wonderful meal.
Another lovely meal had. L'Apicio did a lot of things right this night. And I would not have any issues going back and eating something new or even repeating this meal again. If anything, go for the polenta and the pasta.

L'Apicio
13 E 1st Street
New York, NY 10003
(212) 533-7400
lapicio.com

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