Monday, August 6, 2012

NYC Restaurant Week 2012: Maialino

Maialino has been on my list of restaurants to try for quite a few months now. It's another Danny Meyer venture that offers deliciously praiseworthy Italian cuisine. When I saw it was participating in NYC restaurant week, I was really excited. It was even more pleasing to see that their very popular dish of cacio e pepe is offered on their restaurant week menu! (It's always disappointing when restaurants do not include any of their specialties during restaurant week).

The restaurant week menu presented at the restaurant actually has a few different items that I'm assuming were altered after their menu was submitted to nycgo.com. A great option that isn't shown on their nycgo menu either, is that there is a $35 restaurant week lunch option as well. That one includes their famous suckling pig, which by the way, the restaurant is named after. (The English translation of maialino is "little pig").

Even if you're not able to secure a reservation, note that the whole bar and front area of the dining room is reserved for walk-ins. Since we couldn't get a reservation, we decided to meet there at 12:15 (lunch service begins at 12pm), and were seated right away.

Maialino is located in the gorgeously quaint Gramercy Park Hotel, and can be accessed from the lobby or through its own entrance on Lexington avenue.


Beautiful rustic dining room that presents a wonderful rustic and warm atmosphere. This picture is of the front dining area for walk-ins, and there are also several regular low round and square tables as well.  


The bread was fresh and very soft.


First Course:

Melanzane e Ricotta / Marinated Eggplant, Ricotta & Anchovy: The eggplant was light and sweet, with a texture similar to yam. Combined with the saltiness of the anchovies, this appetizer was very satisfying.  


Spuma di Carciofo / Artichoke Mousse on Toasted Filone: A very generous spread of the artichoke mousse, every bite was so flavorful. 


Second Course:

Tonnarelli a Cacio e Pepe with pecorino and black pepper: The most perfect pasta dish I've ever tasted at a restaurant. Maialino serves homemade pasta that has the most ideal level of chewiness. Mixed with rich and creamy melted pecorino and pepper, this pasta is one that you will dream about for days following. 



Tagliata di Manzo / Hanger Steak, Fingerlings & Salsa Verde: This steak was so chewy it bordered on rubbery, and was too distracting for me to enjoy the salsa and natural steak flavor. Definitely the one and only disappointment of this meal. 


Third Course:

Torta di Olio d'Oliva / Olive Oil Cake & Vanilla Bean Mascarpone: Quite similar to pound cake, this warm dessert was absolutely stunning. 



Budino di Pesche / Croissant Bread Pudding & Roasted Peaches: I was expecting the typical bread pudding that is often served in a bowl and sits in liquid, so when this arrived I was surprised it looked so much like a muffin. Although it is quite moist and not too moist, this dessert was just okay.



Address:
2 Lexington Avenue (between 22nd St & N Gramercy Park)
New York, NY 10010

Phone number: (212)777-2410


Pros: 
  • Interesting rustic interior with a lovely mix of patrons, including many European tourists, business people, and young professionals.
  • Solid homemade pasta.
  • Easy to be seated as a walk-in. 
  • Great Restaurant Week menus.
Cons:
  • I'm not sure if the issue was that our server Jess was in charge of too many tables, but she was just not there whenever we needed her. We asked for an extra minute to decide what to order, and she said that was fine and would be right back with more water. Instead, she never came back and literally 15 minutes later, she was still attending to various other tables, taking orders, bringing them water, etc. We finally had to ask a hostess to find our server to come take our order. When Jess did return upon the hostess's request, she started off with "you asked for another minute, so I was giving you that. Thanks for being so patient". Not only did she start with this remark, but she also did not come back with water as she originally promised. As we were served each course, she also never came back to check on us either. Personally, I don't think it's a big deal if servers do not come check on me during a meal, as long as it's easy to make eye contact and call them over if I do need something, but she did not come over at all, and was definitely not easily reached throughout the meal. 



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2 comments:

  1. Love the blog makeover!!!! haha

    and that artichoke mousse looks uh-maaazeee

    ReplyDelete
  2. Maialino is definitely worth a visit if you're in NYC. Their food is the best Italian in the city!

    ReplyDelete

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