Friday, April 29, 2011

Recent Eats

I've spoken highly of Danny Meyer's Maialino several times before, so here's a rundown of another terrific dinner I had there recently.

We started with a few appetizers. Despite our early reservation, they were out of the fried artichokes. 

The seared octopus with ramps and bits of blood orange was wonderfully simple and spring-like.

The fried mixed vegetables were coated in a light tempura batter. The mix included some vegetables I've never had fried before, like beets and carrots. There was also cauliflower and what tasted like leeks.

The spaghetti alla Chitarra was tossed with ramps, the "it" vegetable of the season, and pecorino. The oniony flavor really stood out and the cheese helped to make it a bit creamy.

The tagliolini neri was a squid ink asta with bottarga di muggine (gray mullet roe). If you don't have true love for the flavor of the ocean, stay away from this one.

The waiter mentioned that the menu had some new items for it for spring and the grilled sturgeon and vignarola was one of them. Vignarola was new to me. According to a Times article, it's "a sprightly, fresh seasonal mix of fava beans, baby artichokes, asparagus and peas in a light, white wine sauce." This was perfect. The white fish was light and played off the green mixture well for a dish that was delicious and felt healthy.

Over the course of many visits to Maialino I had never tried the restaurant's signature dish, the maialino al forno, roast pig. This $85 specialty serves the table and comes over potatoes that taste like hash browns (and that's a good thing). Before the dish is brought to the table, the pork is presented on a platter by a server for a preview. Then it is returned to the kitchen to be plated. It's a huge portion of crispy skin shielding hunks of tender, salty pork tossed with rosemary. It's amazing. I had read some mixed reviews of this, but other than being slightly salty for my taste, I would have no hesitation recommending this. And if you take home leftovers, as we did, the restaurant gives you a fresh loaf of ciabatta to make sandwiches with the pork the next day.

For dessert, we had the pine nut tart, which has become one of my favorites at Maialino. It's a nice, light dessert to finish off a heavy meal.

We also sampled a trio of gelati: fior di latte (sweet cream), an almond chocolate chip and cinnamon. Though we didn't actually order the biscotti, a plea to our waiter to try just one was kindly met with two pieces.

I still maintain that Maialino has the best record of consistency for food, service and atmosphere in the city. Be sure to make your reservations way ahead of time, but whatever you do, make sure you eat here.


  1. Navah8:23 PM

    my did you go without me??? ;)

  2. Navah9:46 PM

    so I went for lunch...loved the octopus and sturgeon...yum. has some other great dishes too- and some divine desserts. the hazelnut chocolate bread pudding...mmmmmmm