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best pasta in nyc?

Inedrive, it's four pastas + passion fruit soufle for $45 p.p. We were served the four pastas on the menu other than the gnudi. We loved the pici, liked the agnolotti and spaghetti chitarra, but weren't quite sold on the cuttlefish stracci.

Serving sizes seemed a little larger than half-plates, so it was a great value.

Aug 12, 2010
littleneck12 in Manhattan

Where can I find matcha green tea powder?

Any decent tea store, e.g. McNulty's, should have matcha.

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McNulty's Tea & Coffee
109 Christopher St, New York, NY 10014

Aug 11, 2010
littleneck12 in Manhattan

best pasta in nyc?

So, just to update, we made a reservation at Babbo for my wife's birthday, but tonight we were looking for something a little more casual (i.e. a little cheaper than some of these places) and tried out the pasta tasting menu at Falai ($45 pp for four courses + dessert). Everything was quite good, particularly the pici with wild boar ragu, which I felt was comparable to a gramigna con salsiccia I had in Bologna.

Thanks for the rec sgordon.

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Babbo
110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

Falai
68 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

Aug 11, 2010
littleneck12 in Manhattan

best pasta in nyc?

Thanks for the suggestion guys - I knew I could count on you for some suggestions. Since everyone mentioned Babbo, that's a place I will have to try out.

And this was not just a case of thinking things are better in Italy. I've been a number of places and usually think "the XXX in New York is just as or almost as good" - not for pasta in Bologna, it was out of this world. I'm not trying to recreate the whole Italian experience, just some of those dishes (although I realize that some, like wild mushrooms, would be very hard to recreate over here).

Where have I had pasta in New York? Honestly, i'm not good with names since some of it was a while back, but i've tried a number of Italian places that are highly rated by zagat - two that I remember off the top of my head were Erminia and Po, both disappointing. My wife's been to more, i'd have to ask her, but she definitely hasn't been to Babbo's so maybe we'll try that out. Thanks guys.

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Babbo
110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

Aug 07, 2010
littleneck12 in Manhattan

best pasta in nyc?

So I just got back from Bologna, and basically the pasta at every restaurant I went to was head and shoulders above anything I had ever tasted before. Where does one approach such perfection in New York? I've been to alot of acclaimed (and not so acclaimed) Italian restaurants in New York, and they have invariably disappointed - in fact I didn't even know I loved pasta until I went to Bologna... oh god, the ravioli w butter and sage, the gramigna con salsiccia, the tagliatelle con funghi, wow.

Aug 05, 2010
littleneck12 in Manhattan

3 nights in Bologna and one in Milan

Nearly everything I ordered in Italy was a local speciality (e.g. rabbit twice in Bologna, beef in Florence, pesto and seafood in Ligura). It was my wife who ordered a few things that weren't regional, given her irrational aversion to some of the courses offered - I wasn't about to give her a foodie lecture. As for the fried lamb, there were only a few secondi offered at that trattoria for lunch, the most popular of which seemed to be melon and prosciutto. It is not like I was missing out on some local specialty.

It didn't have to do with being hungrier, I just found the first courses much better throughout all of Italy than the second courses. I know that I am not the only one who holds this opinion.

Jul 07, 2010
littleneck12 in Italy

2 weeksin Florence

I just had two nights in Florence. My two dinners will give you a highly recommended suggestion and a not recommended suggestion.

Il Guscio - via del'Orto 49 - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
- Simply put, this may have been the best meal of my life - I am fairly young, but still... Wild mushroom risotto to start, followed by a a filet of beef topped with pate and a rich reduction. It was perfect in its simplicity. My wife didn't have such good luck, but both of her dishes were very good as well. We ordered an exquisite Tuscan red for 30 euros.

Giostra - NOT RECOMMENDED
- It's not that this place serves poor food. The food was good, no doubt. But it was by no means outstanding, and without focusing on anything else, it was one of the more forgettable meals we had in Italy. I had pappardelle with wild boar ragu and osso buco, which were both good, no doubt, but not considerably better than similar dishes I have had in New York (or made myself in the case of osso buco). My wife's tomato and basil based pasta dish was quite good, but it by no means offset the negatives of this place. Most importantly, they sectioned us off with other tourists in a completely separate restaurant two doors down from the charming-looking trattoria where we had made our reservation. This room was complete with neon lights and loud American families - not what you're looking for in Florence. To add insult to injury, the prices at this place seemed to be at least 50% higher than comparable eateries. All in all, this was the closest I felt to getting ripped off in Italy - not from a monetary standpoint, as the meal was still very reasonable, but more from an experiential standpoint. I could have had another meal at a place like Guscio...

Let me add one more:

Quattro Leone - RECOMMENDED
- We had a quick lunch here. I'm sure you've heard of this place, as it gets recommended alot and is in our guidebook. So let me just recommend a dish - the pappardelle with summer truffles for 13 euros - unreal. The dish came just covered in delicious truffle shavings. Incredible. My wife had the tortellini with tallegio and asparagus which we had heard recommended, but we weren't the biggest fans of that - it felt like overkill to smother the flavors in cheese like that.

I only had two nights there, but you have two weeks, so just relax and explore. If a place looks good and off-the-beaten track, then try it. Obviously the farther away from the city center the better.

Jul 06, 2010
littleneck12 in Italy

3 nights in Bologna and one in Milan

Hi there - I just got back from my first trip to Italy, including three nights in Bologna. I also live in Manhattan and it sounds like your attitude is the same as mine going in - e.g. looking for non-fancy local places that cook well. So let me share the places I dined at. But first let me tell you, relax - it is almost impossible to go wrong in Bologna. There do not seem to be alot of tourists, and businesses would not stay open if they didn't serve excellent food.

Caminetto D'oro - Via de' Falegnami, 4
- Highly recommended for food, but not as 'local'. This was our first dinner in Italy. We were a little worried that the displayed menu had English subtitles, but we decided to try it anyways as we had heard good things. This was probably the most 'fancy' and least 'local' of the places we went to in Bologna. About half the people seemed to be tourists (but not conspicuously so), but there were definitely locals as well. Having said that, the meal was possibly the best we had. I had the pasta (pappardelle?) with seasonal wild mushrooms, and it was one of the biggest highlights of the trip. I have never tasted mushrooms quite like that before. One problem I found with dining in Italy is that the secondi never seemed to match up to the primi - this isn't saying anything negative about their secondi, it's probably just that I am somewhat used to good meat and fish prepared well and much less used to delicious pasta and risotto. Having said that, this restaurant was the closest to being an exception, as the rabbit al forno with seasonal vegetables was absolutely superb. Being our first night in Bologna, my wife had the tagliatelle Bolognese, and followed it up with an extremely fresh fish fillet (branzino?) - both were excellent, while not quite matching the high bar set my those I was lucky in choosing. We finished it off with a very good medley of three chocolate desserts. As for prices, I can't remember exactly but I think we only paid 110 euros or so for two primi, two secondi, a bottle of wine, and dessert and espresso. That is, a little pricier than the local trattorias, but not much so, and certainly way better than what you'd pay in New York for much less impressive food.

Trattoria del Rosso - Via Righi, 30,
- Recommended for great casual food with the locals. We stopped by here for lunch. The atmosphere was very much loud, bustling, and quick service - they take your order and get your food to you quickly, and leave you the bill and you pay up front. Although probably more relaxed for dinner, it seemed like a great place for lunch. As for the food, the pasta dishes here were incredible. I had the gramigna con salsiccia. Apparently this is a Bolgnese specialty - small tubular pasta in a sausage ragu. The ragu was incredible, and the pasta perfect. My wife got a tortellini stuffed with some kind of meat which may have been the best tortellini I have ever had. Again she got it with a bolognese ragu, and the consensus at the table was that her tortellini served with my salsiccia might be the most perfect dish imaginable. We ordered some second courses that were good but nothing special - I had some fried lamb and my wife a caprese salad. The pasta was the highlight of this place - the thought that we could get two incredible pasta dishes with a half-litre of wine for 20 euros was awe-inspiring.

Trattoria Meloncello - Via Saragozza, 240
- Reccomended for food, local casual fare, service. We made the trek out here on recommendations we had heard - it was about a 15 minute walk from the city wall to the west. We took a cab back for about 10 euros, which I would recommend as the walk was fairly uninteresting. The server (owner?) was incredibly nice and talkative in English to us. I can't remember what my wife had for a first course, as everything paled in comparison to my ravioli with butter and sage. I have often cooked italian foods, such as veal saltimbocca, and I could never quite understand their love for sage. Now I do. The sage I had here, worked perfectly into the pasta, was a revelation. It is so hard for me to pick a favorite course I had in Italy, but this was definitely top three. Oh yes, I now recall my wife had a tomato-based gnocchi - I suppose a poor choice considering we don't usually love gnocchi, but then again I didn't love sage until my course. Oh well, it was still good, just not life-altering. For seconds, I asked for a recommendation and the waiter/owner suggested the rabbit dish - i'm not quite sure how it was prepared, but it involved combining rabbit with prosciutto and vegetables and grilling the whole thing, and serving under a rich sauce. It was good, probably not as good as the rabbit I had had the night before, but they were really different preparations. My wife had some very good meatballs, which I think were served ala Bolognese (again). All in all, three good meals and one sublime meal.

Trattoria Trebbi - Via Solferino, 40
- Recommended, just a good casual local trattoria. There is no entry for this day's lunch as we randomly decided to daytrip to Venice, as I had never been - nothing against Bologna of course, which we loved. As such, we were looking for a place near our hotel and this very local-looking place seemed just the spot. The pasta was good, as always. I had a tortellini dish served with prosciutto and asparagus - delicious, although perhaps not mind-blowing as a few others I had. My wife, on the other hand, had a very strange dish of tagliatelle in style unlike anything I had ever tasted - I believe it may have been called 'galletta' or something along those lines. Anyways, it had an incredibly interesting spice to it (nutmeg?) that was unlike anything we had ever tasted. I had a hard time deciding how I felt about the dish, but was very glad we had ordered it, and certainly it was of high quality. For seconds I ordered some thinly sliced veal, and my wife basically chose from the menu at random and was served something akin to mozzarella sticks. Neither was particularly great, but we were used to first course surpassing the second by now. We always joked that my wife would order two pasta courses next time, but for she never ended up doing so.

In addition to the places we went to, I would recommend checking out Drogheria Della Rossa (Via Cartoleria, 10) - I tried to get a reservation here after coming back from Venice in the evening, but it was absolutely overflowing.

Jul 06, 2010
littleneck12 in Italy

Beginner lobster cooking question

Perfect, so he recommends 1.5-2 quarts of water per lb of lobster. Thanks alot. Of course, he also says "when no ocean water is available, I usually recommend steaming", so I think I'll just go that route.

Dec 31, 2009
littleneck12 in Home Cooking

Beginner lobster cooking question

It sounds like you are recommending steaming instead of boiling. I think this is probably the best idea, given my weak stove. Thanks.

Dec 31, 2009
littleneck12 in Home Cooking

Beginner lobster cooking question

yes

Dec 31, 2009
littleneck12 in Home Cooking

Beginner lobster cooking question

I am cooking lobster tonight and have had problems timing it in the past. The problem is that all the advice I read says to add the lobster, and then "return the water to a boil", then cook for 8-10 minutes or so. Well last time I sat there waiting for the water to return to a boil with my stove on high, and it took forever to do so - I ended up taking the lobster out before the water ever returned to a boil, and it was already quite overdone. My cheap apartment stove just doesn't seem to have much power. Is there some other way I can time/judge the doneness, or should I just resort to steaming?

Thanks - my first post here, I hope it's in the right forum.

Dec 31, 2009
littleneck12 in Home Cooking