Thursday, March 11, 2010


On Monday, I went to Locanda Verde, where I've been wanting to eat for a while. Reviews from friends have been mixed. Last week, one friend told me not to order any of the pastas, but that the antipasti and secondi were worth a try. Saturday, a different friend disclosed the opposite. "The pastas are fantastic," she said. Well, whatever.

The dining room is massive and it was incredibly loud, even for someone like me who has worked in far louder environments. We sat at 9:30 and I expected that, for a Monday, the crowds would be dwindling, but that wasn't the case. In fact, our food came so quickly, it was clear they were pushing our table for yet another seating. Rushed would be the polite term for how the evening went.

To start, we ate steak tartare with cornichon, walnut, and a quail egg. The steak lacked salt and the bread was a bit thick and eggy for the meat. The star of the evening came next, blue crab and jalapeno crostini, spicy and salty and briny and perfect. The sausage and pickled ramp crostini were nice, too, though the pickled ramp receded a bit into the background.

Pastas were good but not life-changing. The rigatoni with lamb and ricotta and mint tasted bright and fresh and somewhat reminiscent of the love letters at Babbo. But the "grandmother's ravioli" was a disappointment. It was billed as ravioli filled with pork and beef, but it could have been filled with anything; the prevailing taste was that of the sauce, a fresh tomato and basil that would have made a more appropriate compliment to a less-complicated pasta. In all that tomato, I couldn't taste even a hint of meat.

For dessert, we ordered a lemon tart, the filling of which mostly tasted of lemon meringue pie. Buttermilk ice-cream was nothing to turn one's nose up at, but the real winner was the flaky pie crust. Karen DeMasco uses lard in her crusts, which is probably the secret to foolproof flakiness. Our server offered biscotti as a petit fours, but we waited longer for our check than we had waited for any of our four courses. Perhaps I would feel better about the experience if the "get them in and get them OUT" mentality hadn't been so completely pervasive, but we were finished with our meal in a scant hour, certainly not my idea of a relaxing evening.

Locanda Verde
377 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10013

No comments: