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Maialino


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I dined in the front bar room on day 3. It's a very large space with tables, bar seats and a communal table, walk-ins only, abbreviated menu. I thought it was extremely promising. Our prosciutto and ricotta were out of this world. Other dishes (eggplant parmigiana, cavolo nero, risotto balls) were very good, and the service was excellent and attentive even on day 3. Rolls from Sullivan Street were awesome. I look forward to seeing how they're doing after the first week is behind them (already have resy for dining room in a couple of weeks). Look, Danny Meyer does nothing half-assed. I would tell you to definitely go.

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I dined in the front bar room on day 3. It's a very large space with tables, bar seats and a communal table, walk-ins only, abbreviated menu. I thought it was extremely promising. Our prosciutto and ricotta were out of this world. Other dishes (eggplant parmigiana, cavolo nero, risotto balls) were very good, and the service was excellent and attentive even on day 3. Rolls from Sullivan Street were awesome. I look forward to seeing how they're doing after the first week is behind them (already have resy for dining room in a couple of weeks). Look, Danny Meyer does nothing half-assed. I would tell you to definitely go.

Thanks for the report - you confirmed what I had strongly suspected, based on my experiences at Meyer's other places. I just booked a table during my visit next month.

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Really good. Really very good.

The restaurant is a little too large for my taste.

Pricing is very generous both on food and wine.

Service is fantastic (on one visit but with a somewhat difficult table of 6)

The food is outta sight. Our table ordered oxtails, suckling pig, lamb's neck, amatriciana, tripe, mixed cured meat platter, and sardines I think. I wanted more guanciale in the amatriciana but the otherwise the pasta was cooked very well and was delicious. Tripe was excellent, non-tripe eaters gobbled it down. All the slow-cooked meats were fantastic.

I live close and want to eat at Maialino as often as possible.

Edited by ned (log)

You shouldn't eat grouse and woodcock, venison, a quail and dove pate, abalone and oysters, caviar, calf sweetbreads, kidneys, liver, and ducks all during the same week with several cases of wine. That's a health tip.

Jim Harrison from "Off to the Side"

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Really good. Really very good.

The restaurant is a little too large for my taste.

Curious about what you mean by this - you sat in the main dining room? When I ate in the front bar room, which is pretty spacious, I was talking with the host about reservations and he pointed out that the main dining room is on the small side with only about 70 seats (which is probably 1/2 the size of Gramercy or Eleven Madison). I'm just curious what you're referring to here.

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Just my own self I guess. For all the other parts that I like so much, I mostly don't like eating in restaurants that are this big.

You shouldn't eat grouse and woodcock, venison, a quail and dove pate, abalone and oysters, caviar, calf sweetbreads, kidneys, liver, and ducks all during the same week with several cases of wine. That's a health tip.

Jim Harrison from "Off to the Side"

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Okay, okay...my longstanding silence may be at an end...but it's only because I'm spending so much time on I-95 between DC and NYC that I hardly know where I am anymore.

That said, our party of four dined at Maialano last Saturday night. First off, comparing the rooms is nigh impossible. This may be David Rockwell's most beautifully designed room in the city...and it surely beats Lupa on sheer loveliness. As a matter of fact, show me a trattoria in Rome that's this nice, and it may just have Danny Meyer's name on it.

The bread station is also swoon worthy - though at the late hour, the pizza bianca was surely showing its age, and the breads, as delicious as they are, are currently outsourced; at some point, maybe they'll start baking them in house.

Moving on to the salumi, the sourcing is certainly wonderful. I love Framani salumi rossa and toscano, I love La Quercia proscuitto, etc. etc. I love them all so much I often have them in my fridge at home. Based on the Alice Waters' philosophy of restaurantery, they're sourcing the best and not screwing it up (or is that Mario's philosophy?) Anyway, since the "L" word is making some of their salumi offerings in-house, we gotta give them the edge on that.

We tried 3 of the appetizers, if memory serves me correctly. Tripe and sweetbreads were delicious, no question about it. Totally rocked, the tripe as tender and sweet as can be, and the sweetbreads, well, as sweetbread-ish as could be. Nothing like these two items in recent memory on L's menu, but gotta give M it's due based on these two organs. Our third app was carciofi fritti, which was good but not revelatory, like the whole fried artichoke at Sora Margarhita in Rome or the first whole fried artichoke I had at L.

Moving on to pastas, the two were tried (cacio e pepe + vongole) were distinctly not better than L's (as long as we're comparing). No way, no how, imo.

And then came the main courses...after much hand-wringing, and arm-twisting, (and my whining because I didn't really want the pig), we went ahead and ordered a side of a pig the size of our table, along with the lamb stew. The lamb stew was passable, but others (okay, my wife) say mine is better - she's right; she always is. The swordfish (comped) was not - salty and, salty. The pig was delicious, moist, tender and juicy, with crispy skin. And the cut we had included a bunch of spareribs with meat that melted in my mouth. But if we take it out of its context, is it better than Great NY Noodletown's roast suckling at $9 a portion? I dunno. That's why I have a problem with a $62 order of roast pig...and I suppose I always will. As a matter of fact, my wife (there she goes again) brought up the old wood oven roasted pig that Peasant served back in the day (and may still). The pig which we may still compare all other pigs against. That was mighty fine pig from that wood burning oven, don't you think? I guess the bottom line is that if you roast a haunch of pig, there isn't much you can do to totally screw it up, 'cept maybe cook it to death.

So, what the hell am I trying to say? If I only knew, and if only that crappy hamburger I just ate in Dupont Circle would go away, it would be this...Maialano is certainly the more beautiful restaurant, the more comfortable restaurant, the warmer restaurant, the more expensive restaurant, the restaurant with the not quite as extensive, but definitely more expensive, wine list. The restaurant where my bartender (a young one, to be sure) had to be clued in as to how to make my Americano. The more special occasion restaurant, the restaurant to go to on a date, the restaurant to go to when you want to stay above 23rd St., and when you need the Rockwell room. When I want sweetbreads and tripe, coda vaccinara, and certainly, to sit at the bar and have a nice platter of those perfectly sourced cured meats along with a basket of Sullivan St. bakery bread and a carafina of nice wine, along with a view of Gramercy Park, it's Maialano all the way. And I'll go to Lupa when I just want to have that nice bowl of pasta, some warm testa, and someone warm breathing down my neck and waiting for my seat.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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The restaurant where my bartender (a young one, to be sure) had to be clued in as to how to make my Americano.

You reminded me - my waitress had that vacant look in her eye when I asked for an Americano, and I suspected that I was going to end up with watered down espresso, so I started talking about Campari and sweet vermouth in the hopes that she would ask the bar, and she did. (So subtle, I know.) I gave them some leeway since that was day 3, but seriously, the waitstaff should know that one.

I agree with much of what you've said about sourcing the right ingredients - the bread/prosciutto/cheese were outrageously good - but that alone doesn't make a great restaurant. I'll report back, am dining in main room on Saturday. The front room seemed more Lupa-esque to me in price/atmosphere, but the breadth/diversity of the menu would not stand up to Lupa's.

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1. I don't think I've ever ordered an Americano in an Italian restaurant in New York and had the server OR bartender know what I was talking about. I ALWAYS get the espresso. (I'm not saying that to defend Maialino -- I think it sucks everywhere it happens.)

2. I like Lupa A LOT. But putting the matchless (in New York) salumi aside, I have NEVER had ANYTHING at Lupa as good (and as well-prepared) as the pig's foot antipasto at Maialino, or the coda di vaccinara segundo. And frankly, I thought the pastas we had at my table -- the long pasta (I don't remember which one) with cod and light tomato sauce, and the malfatti with roast pork -- were as good as Lupa pastas (which I agree is saying a lot).

Edited by Sneakeater (log)
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1. I don't think I've ever ordered an Americano in an Italian restaurant in New York and had the server OR bartender know what I was talking about. I ALWAYS get the espresso. (I'm not saying that to defend Maialino -- I think it sucks everywhere it happens.)

I've ordered a few hundred Americano's for breakfast at Morandi and not once did they not know what it was, despite 10's of different servers over the years. That said, I do agree - it has happened to me a few times in NY where (unexpectedly) the servers had no clue what I was asking for (most recently Bar Americain comes to mind).

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I've ordered a few hundred Americano's for breakfast at Morandi and not once did they not know what it was, despite 10's of different servers over the years. That said, I do agree - it has happened to me a few times in NY where (unexpectedly) the servers had no clue what I was asking for (most recently Bar Americain comes to mind).

You have cocktails for breakfast?

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I've ordered a few hundred Americano's for breakfast at Morandi and not once did they not know what it was, despite 10's of different servers over the years. That said, I do agree - it has happened to me a few times in NY where (unexpectedly) the servers had no clue what I was asking for (most recently Bar Americain comes to mind).

You have cocktails for breakfast?

Whoops - count me as someone that wouldn't know what to get you in that case - Americano to me is espresso & water :-)

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Equal parts Campari and sweet vermouth, splash of soda, a twist or even a slice of citrus.

Sort of like a Negroni without the gin. (Or a Campari and soda with vermouth.)

One of the few cocktails native to Italy.

BUT it gets worse. "Americano" also is the name of an aperitivo from the Piedmont. Try ordering one of THOSE and getting what you want (even if, as at L'Artussi, you can see it on their shelf).

Edited by Sneakeater (log)
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Went a few nights ago. Thought it was good but surprisingly not outstanding. Pastas were ok, but I thought I could probably do as well at home. Loved the salume, loved the ravioli with egg (that was the one pasta that was out of sight good). Thought the suckling pig was good but not profound. The fried artichokes were a bit soggy and kind of tepid in temperature.

Does anyone have an issue with a single brand of spirit offered? (i.e. Belvedere vodka, Plymouth gin, etc)? Those are fine brands, but sometimes I'd like a different type of gin, but not available here--they have an agreement, as I understand it, with the supplier.

Edited by DutchMuse (log)
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Equal parts Campari and sweet vermouth, splash of soda, a twist or even a slice of citrus.

Sort of like a Negroni without the gin. (Or a Campari and soda with vermouth.)

One of the few cocktails invented in Italy.

BUT it gets worse. "Americano" also is the name of an aperitivo from the Piedmont. Try ordering one of THOSE and getting what you want (even if, as at L'Artussi, you can see it on their shelf).

I see, thanks. Of course I eat Italian food literally maybe twice a year (Morandi breakfast with laptop in hand excepted - soft boiled eggs, bacon etc... are hardly Italian), so perhaps someone with more familiarity than me (i.e. a waiter/bartender at an Italian restaurant) should probably know more :-)

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1. I don't think I've ever ordered an Americano in an Italian restaurant in New York and had the server OR bartender know what I was talking about. I ALWAYS get the espresso. (I'm not saying that to defend Maialino -- I think it sucks everywhere it happens.)

Totally true. I've had it happen at Otto as well. But, not at Death & Company. And you'd think, like before dinner, maybe a cocktail and NOT an espresso.

2. I like Lupa A LOT. But putting the matchless (in New York) salumi aside, I have NEVER had ANYTHING at Lupa as good (and as well-prepared) as the pig's foot antipasto at Maialino, or the coda di vaccinara segundo. And frankly, I thought the pastas we had at my table -- the long pasta (I don't remember which one) with cod and light tomato sauce, and the malfatti with roast pork -- were as good as Lupa pastas (which I agree is saying a lot).

Ahhh, all the things we didn't have. But, the warm testa at Lupa is pretty excellent. So, when are we going to sit at the bar and see what happens when we order Americanos?

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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Ahhh, all the things we didn't have. But, the warm testa at Lupa is pretty excellent. So, when are we going to sit at the bar and see what happens when we order Americanos?

I'm in, but the testa is all yours. :)

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