Wednesday, June 26, 2013

L'Artusi

Not too long ago (surprising, huh?), my good friend The Feisty Foodie took me out for my belated birthday dinner. I mulled it over a bit and eventually settled on L'Artusi. I have enjoyed myself very much at Dell'Anima and L'Apicio with Chef Gabe Thompson in the past so it only made sense to try his other ventures.
We arrived on time on Wednesday evening and the place was hopping. That's a good sign. A very good sign. We were promptly seated squeezed in between two other tables. One thing is for sure, they try to pack as many people into the restaurant as possible. Be ready to hear your neighbors conversations. With that, the noise level was quite high but that allowed us to speak with our normal voices as opposed to hushed tones.

After looking over the menu, we decided to share a couple of appetizers, then get our own main courses. To start, I picked the Roasted Mushrooms ($17) with pancetta, fried eggs, and ricotta salata. This dish was excellent. The mushrooms were earthy and chewy, the pancetta fatty and salty, the egg still runny, and the ricotta salata salty yet slightly pungent. Everything just worked really well together in one homogeneous dish.
She picked the Escolar ($14) to share with avocado, basil, and chilies. This was a great complement to the mushroom dish. Light, fresh, clean flavors. It didn't overwhelm our palates but instead delighted it with its straightforward natural flavors.
The pasta to share was the Pici Nero ($26) with black spaghetti, peekytoe crab, scallions, and parmesan. As expected the squid ink spaghetti was slightly funky but the crab was sweet and the parmesan cheese pungent. Overall, we thought this dish would have been better with pasta that was smaller and not strands. The main concern was that the crab broke up was we tried to serve each other. Otherwise, I enjoyed the flavors and textures.
For my main dish, I chose the Pork Chop ($26) with spring onions and pancetta. The chop was obviously brined beforehand because it was extremely juicy inside but also had a nice crust outside. Lots of incredible pork flavor accented with the sweetness of the onions and the saltiness of the pancetta. I really enjoyed this pork chop. If I were at home, I'd pick up the bone to get every last nook and cranny. Yes, I enjoyed it that much. In fact, I liked it so much that I'm going to try to recreate this at home. Well, at least the brined pork chop part. So good.
The Feisty Foodie picked the Crispy Sweetbreads ($16) to finish with leek puree, spring peas, and pickled shallots. She enjoyed her meal too with the generous amount of sweetbreads and the crispiness of it.
As a side, we shared the Broccoli Rabe ($8) with garlic, chilis, and breadcrumbs. I thought this was the only miss of the night. It was a bit too tart for me. The chef probably added a bit too much acid to counter the natural bitterness of the greens. We didn't finish this and we both have had better elsewhere.
Overall, I really enjoyed my dinner at L'Artusi. My favorite dishes were the roasted mushrooms and the pork chop. I would go back and eat those again with no issue. But what's the fun in that? I'm always up for trying new things on the menu. They also have a nice selection of fish and other pasta that looks worthy of trying.

L'Artusi
228 W 10th Street
New York, NY 10014
(212) 255-5757
lartusi.com

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