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We have our reservations for Lupa at the end of the month and cannot wait!

FYI, we also are eating at Jean-George, Nice-Matin and the Carnegie, as well as a pizza and a cheesburger, the later two restaurants to be determined.

After that, I will have to rolled back home :laugh:

edited for grammar & spelling. I do it 95% of my posts so I'll state it here. :)

"I have never developed indigestion from eating my words."-- Winston Churchill

Talk doesn't cook rice. ~ Chinese Proverb

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When our server handed us cocktail/wine menus last night, she added "we also have an Americano, which is campari, sweet vermouth, and club soda."

It made me laugh. Our complaint has been addressed, folks. Does Danny Meyer read egullet? If so, keep up the good work. :smile:

I think the sole brand of spirit thing is very odd and I wonder if it'll stay that way. Plymouth in my negroni is fine, but I really would prefer a bigger gin like Beefeater.

I absolutely loved some of the dishes we had: the malfatti maialino was a stunner - a flat, torn pasta with suckling pig and arugula. Incredibly simple and perfectly seasoned. I could have eaten four times the amount served and called it a day. (If we're keeping the Lupa/Maialino comparisons going, I think Maialino's portions on the pastas are smaller.) I tasted the raviolo al uovo which I thought was delicious if a tad oversalted. Lamb sweetbreads and greens were earthy and citrusy. For secondi, since Sneakeater had raved about it, I ordered the coda alla vaccarina (oxtail), which I'd never had on the bone before. It's a bit of work but really well worth it - the meat was unctuous and flavorful, topped with a hearty tomato sauce. I also tried the bistecca with heirloom beans and escarole - I'm not one to rave about steak, but I really enjoyed that dish. Also inhaled the brussels sprouts with chesnuts.

For dessert we ordered the tiramisu (very strong flavors of espresso and liqueur, it was delicious) and were brought the pine nut/lemon torte as well, compliments of the house. They hadn't been able to fulfill certain minor requests (like having no decaf tea other than chamomile) and sent the extra dessert as a gesture. Not necessary, but appreciated. The service was exactly what I expected, from the coat check and hostesses on. Our server, Jessica, was enthusiastic, knowledgeable and full of helpful suggestions that resulted in us ordering very well. My parents absolutely loved the whole meal and the service. They'll be talking about this one for a while. (In my opinion, the gruffness I've encountered at Lupa (not all the time, but enough) is heavily outweighed by the warm service at Maialino. Hands down.)

I think it's interesting that the menu doesn't mention any of the sourcing on the proteins. I asked where the pig comes from, and Jessica reported back that it's Four Story Hill Farm. It's possible that the poultry and beef was from there as well, but I don't know. I would think that's something that many diners would be happy to know. (Interestingly, the Gramercy Tavern menu doesn't mention farms/sources, while the Eleven Madison menu does.) This is neither here nor there - just something that I'm always curious about and enjoy knowing. The pork was so damned delicious.

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We interrupt another fine eG Forums discussion for this special announcement: The eGullet Society survey is here! Whether you are a member or not, we want to hear from you! Click here to take the survey -- and thanks!

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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  • 3 weeks later...

Dropped into Maialino last night for an early dinner. Even about a month out, all I could get was a 5:45 reservation. Place is very, very popular. The dining room isn't so cramped that it feels oppressively loud, however, so that's a plus. I will say that I wasn't so enamored with the design as others. To me, it felt a bit generic, a bit Restoration Hardware, kind of like Gramercy Tavern meets Irving Mill, with a bit of Italy thrown in for good measure.

We were nearly half an hour late for our reservation due to traffic, but after calling to let them know we'd be delayed they were more than gracious both on the phone and upon arrival. Our meal progressed at a pretty decent clip, as I'm sure they wanted to turn the table not much after 8 pm, but in no way did we feel rushed. Service across the board was friendly and down-to-earth, but the servers, especially the backwaiters, didn't know the menu as well as I've come to expect in a USHG restaurant. This isn't to say they were uninformed, but dishes were dropped with minimal description as opposed to the enthusiasm I might have expected.

I know Lupa is a more apt comparison, but Babbo seemed to be the anchor that I kept returning to. While Babbo certainly has its quirks and hassles, I find the food there to be slightly more impression-making. I think Babbo's strength is its ability to take largely traditional Italian dishes, then tweak them to fit NYC palates. Batali's food always seems to rely on big hits of acid or spice or buttery fat to really make the diner take notice. With some of the dishes at Maialino I wish the kitchen would've gone one step further in building flavor into the dish.

I also found the antipasti to be a bit small overall. The sweetbread appetizer included a mound of greens and four small nuggets of fried sweetbread. I would've preferred two larger pieces so that the juxtaposition between crispy exterior and creamy interior would be clearer. Our second antipasti was a special of celery root, shaved celery, soft-cooked egg, and bottarga. Here again there was a small mound of celery root, half of a small egg, and a very light sprinkling of bottarga. This was a good dish, but I wanted more creamy egg yolk to go around, more of the bit salty hit from the bottarga.



Celery root


Pastas were relatively simple but satisfying. Again, there's no foie stuff agnolotti or barolo braised beef ravioli here. I really liked how the cod pasta took a very traditional preparation and skewed it so that it was new to me yet still traditional. Rather than the more typical shellfish, this dish used flakes of cod strewn through the pasta. The cod was firm, yet not so spongy as shrimp, and it was meaty, more so than, say, scallops. The raviolo al uovo is straight up comfort food. And the fried sage garnish actually added to the dish.



The sea bass we had was nice, clean, tasty, though I didn't get much of the advertised preserved lemon. Perhaps it was just in the vinaigrette. But the fish really was really but a distraction. The maialino is freaking awesome. Both my sister and I remarked, at nearly the same instant, that eating this dish made us happy to be alive. It's one of those things that you at first gingerly try to cut up, nibble at a bit of skin. Then, after a few minutes, it's about going for the ribs with your hands, using the fantastic bread to sop up the even more fantastic pooled juices and fat, ripping off swaths of crispy cracklin'.

This dish is probably the best thing I've eaten in recent memory. To me, it's currently one of the great dishes of NYC. I had the cote de boeuf at Minetta the night before, I eat Paul Kahan's food--so soulful and rich and delicious--in Chicago multiple nights a week, but this trumped all.

Sea bass, mizuna, preserved lemon


Maialino al forno


Brussels sprouts with chestnuts


Desserts were solid but not super exciting, as I usually find Italian pastry. Nicely balanced ricotta sformato will do well for people who like their sweets with just a bit of savory. The poached pears bordered on being too sweet, but the boozyness of the thing, along with its soft, yielding texture, lent it a air of luxury, almost like a baba au rum.



So in summary this is a very solid restaurant. I'm not swooning over it because I thought it lacked some of the punch I usually look for when I'm going out. Italian food also isn't my favorite, so I'm slightly less inclined to go ga-ga over this kind of restaurant. The suckling pig, however, is epic, awesome, delicious, and worth a visit alone. I'd be inclined to stop in at the bar for a quick snack, but if someone invites me back to the trattoria for a full meal it almost seems foolish not to get the maialino.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I couldn't help but notice this quote:

I will say that I wasn't so enamored with the design as others. To me, it felt a bit generic, a bit Restoration Hardware...

after reading Sam Sifton's review of Maialino this week:

Much of Maialino looks like a Pottery Barn.

Well, which one is it gentleman? :laugh:


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  • 1 month later...
  • 1 year later...

I'm sure I've been back a few times in the past year and have never been disappointed. People I send here are not disappointed. It's just good, solidly prepared food that maybe, just maybe, let's you think you might be somewhere else...

Fried artichokes with an anchovy/bread dipping sauce always start a meal off nicely. Today's were perhaps a tad more slicked with oil than I've seen before, but good and messy nonetheless.

There is a very nice soup and sandwich lunch special (off-menu) available now; today's soup was a rich stracciatella (basically, Roman egg-drop soup) with a smoked ham and pickled vegetable sandwich. The sandwich is made on that most wonderful pizza bianca, which also comes in the bread basket at the start of the meal.

While my friend had the special, I wanted pasta all'Amatriciana. It's being made with a pasta they call bombolotti, basically what you'd get if you took a big tube pasta like rigatoni, and cut it into halves. No matter, it was delicious - a nice sweet (pig) and spicy (chili) tomato sauce coating the al dente tubelets. I also ordered a contorni - sunchokes - which were roasted and then tossed with come chopped Sicilian almonds. If it wasn't for the pasta, that would have been my favorite dish.

We then finished off with an affogato - it almost helps you from wanting to take a nap after lunch.

I know it's not always easy to get in here, especially at let's say 8 PM on a Thursday night, but on a Monday afternoon, with a thin crowd, this is one of the nicest rooms in town in which to enjoy a pleasant midday feast.

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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  • 2 months later...

Just last week Maialino started a summer happy hour; weekdays from 5 - 7 P.M. they're offering a number of beers for $5, a shandy (essentially a beer cocktail - also $5) and a bunch of $2 bar snacks, to go along with their already fab cicchetti menu. And if it so happens that you're really hungry and sitting at the bar, well the whole menu is available there too...

2011_06_08 Maialino Happy_1.jpg

Start with the deviled eggs (we did). Topped with pickled sardines and some crunch, they make a nice bite...

2011_06_08 Maialino Deviled Eggs_1.jpg

Rabbit meatballs studded with black olives were a standout, while the balls of beef and scallion weren’t bad either...

2011_06_08 Maialino Rabbit Balls_1.jpg

Mini pizze were good – the one topped with thin slices of eggplant was a friend’s favorite, while I wanted more of the potato and ricotta...

2011_06_08 Maialino Focaccia_1.jpg

But what really flew off the bar was the cotiche fritte…that’s pork cracklings, y’all. Dipped into the spicy vinegar they were served with, these little morsels literally melted in the mouth...

2011_06_08 Maialino Cracklings_1.jpg

Somehow, we also ended up with a gift from the kitchen; a duo of pastas. Malfatti (badly cut pasta) al Maialino was as good as always – and I’ve had it a number of times in the past. And garganelli with braised rabbit proved that rabbit doesn’t have to be dry and stringy. I need to take a lesson, because the last time I made rabbit at home (in a paella), it was nowhere near as good as in these 2 preps. But I’ll keep trying.

I know happy hour isn't everyone’s cup of tea. But Maialino sure makes it fun. Go – have a shandy and a snack…I’m pretty sure you’ll be happy you did.

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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