Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Allegretti Visual Review

The only decent last-minute Saturday night reservation I could get for my family was at Allegretti, a restaurant specializing in food from the south of France, in the Flatiron district. My father has high standards and is often hard to please when it comes to new restaurants, but he seemed quite pleased with what Allegretti had to offer. The dishes offered interesting combinations of ingredients and managed to pull them off well.

Octopus with  chickpeas, crispy prosciutto and anchovy sauce 

Bacon Wrapped Sea Scallops with creamy chestnut polenta and grilled butternut squash, aged balsamic
Black Tagliolini with sea urchin and shrimp, preserved lemon and chili
Anything with sea urchin catches my eye. This was perfectly done. The pasta was well-cooked and had the oceany flavor to it.
Farotto with braised veal cheek and greens
Farro is another ingredient I love to see on menus. But, as I think can often be the case with grains, the kitchen relied too much on butter to flavor this dish.
Black Angus Steak Au Poivre with roasted baby carrots and brussels sprouts, chanterelles and almonds, grilled polenta
Wild Striped Bass with leek, fennel and potato fondant, crispy mussels, truffle leeks bouillon
The skin on the fish was terrifically crispy.
Branzino with lemon root vegetables, potato and bacon ravioli, lemon verbena jus

Dessert was a wonderful Manjari Chocolate Mousse with spiced cream, sorrento walnut gelato, spiced bread. We also had a plate of olive oil gelato, ricotta almond gelato and clementine sorbet. The gelati flavors were mild — Otto is still the place to go for the olive oil gelato — and the sorbet was overly tart and tasted slightly artificial.

The complimentary petit fours were different than the standard truffles or jellies. Instead we got black licorice and fennel "biscotti."

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