1st Annual Bollito Misto at Circo in NYC, New York - Jan 27th to Jan 31st 2014 | I just want to eat!

Friday, January 24, 2014

1st Annual Bollito Misto at Circo in NYC, New York - Jan 27th to Jan 31st 2014

image of Circo in NYC, New York

Last Wesnesday, I was invited to Osteria Del Circo aka Circo which presented the menu for an event called The 1st Annual Bollito Misto week that will run from January 27th to January 31st 2014. If you do not know this restaurant, you probably know its famous owners: the Maccionis. Sirio Maccioni is to Le Cirque what his wife Egidiana (Mamma Egi) and sons Marco and Mauro are to Circo. Opened in 1996, Circo fulfills the wish from the sons to create a more modern and less formal place than Le Cirque, while staying true to their Italian heritage. I remember seeing them in the documentary A Table in Heaven debating with their father about a no-tie rule at Le CirqueThere is definitely a tough challenge for Circo considering the fame of Le Cirque and its history. Most of the famous Chefs we know today worked at Le Cirque, under the mentoring of Sirio: Daniel Boulud, Jacques Torres, Francois Payard, Geoffrey Zakaryan, etc, etc. Today, the Chef is Alfio Longo that I met in a previous event.
image of Chef Alfio Longo at Circo in NYC, New York
Chef Alfio Longo and his team

Circo is an amazing place. First is the logo is is beautiful, representing an acrobat:
image of Circo in NYC, New York

Then, inside, the decor that boasts impressive high ceilings where red and white drapes go across, symbolizing  a European circus tent (chapiteau in French), with acrobats similar to the logo above our heads:
image of decor at Circo in NYC, New York

Some sculptures representing circus people, like a fire eater.

image of decor at Circo in NYC, New York

As well as colorful paintings from Milton Glaser on the same theme:
image of Paintings from Milton Glaser at Circo in NYC, New York

image of Paintings from Milton Glaser at Circo in NYC, New York

The way the restaurant is laid out is the bar at the entrance, the dining room with a seafood display on the left:
image of seafood display at Circo in NYC, New York

And the kitchen in the back.
image of Kitchen at Circo in NYC, New York

The photo above showing for instance the pizza oven.

I sat at the dinner table with other media guests, Carlo Mantica (Co-managing member at The Maccioni Group), Maria Von Nicolai (Executive Assistant to Sirio Maccioni), Jean Lee (PR and Social Media Manager for The Maccioni Group) and close to my fellow blogger Malini from The Restaurant Fairy and her husband Yozo. 
image of table and menu at Circo in NYC, New York image of table at Circo in NYC, New York

image of plate and logo at Circo in NYC, New York

At the head of the table, next to me, there was nobody, until Mamma Egi came and sat. I was very honored to have Mamma Egi sitting right there! It gave me the opportunity to talk to her about many topics: the history of Le Cirque, Italy, France, paintings...I proudly told her that I know how to make fresh pasta and learnt that Mamma Egi presents Circo evening in cruises where she will teach people how to cook some Italian dishes, but in a simple manner. For instance, how to make pasta or pizza dough in a food processor rather than by hand, making it more accessible to people.
image of restaurant fairy malini, Mamma Egi and Mauro Maccioni at Circo in NYC, New York
With Mamma Egi, Malini and Mauro - Courtesy of Malini, The Restaurant Fairy
Few minutes after the start of the dinner, it was the turn of Mauro Maccioni to come, having dinner at the table next to us with some friends, one of them being Donatella Arpaia, restaurateur, author, and television personality (you may have seen her as a head judge on both Iron Chef America and Next Iron Chef).
image of restaurant fairy malini, Mamma Egi and Mauro Maccioni and Donatella Arpaia at Circo in NYC, New York
Group photo with Donatella Arpaia, Mamma Egi and Mauro - Courtesy of Malini, The Restaurant Fairy
So, back to the other star of the evening: the main dish that gave the name to the menu is bollito misto, a Northern Italian stew that resembles to the pot-au-feu, a classic French dish. I was curious to see what similarities I would find when tasting it. But, although the centerpiece of this meal, bollito misto was not the only one dish. Of course, there is no Italian meal without any bread, all homemade:
image of bread basket at Circo in NYC, New York

With some olive oil instead of butter to dip the bread in:
image of Olive oil at Circo in NYC, New York

The first dish was Culatello Di Zibello, Mortadella Di Bologna, Parmigiano, Panzerotti, Mostarda or Antipasto Platter, Culatello Riserva, Mortadella di Bologna, Parmesan, Panzerotti Bread, Mustard Fruit:
image of Antipasti platter at Circo in NYC, New York

That was definitely a good way to start the meal.
image of Antipasti platter at Circo in NYC, New York

This was a pretty standard dish to start, but what was new for me was the Panzerotti bread, a deep fried parmesan bread that was so delicious I could have eaten it the entire evening!
image of Antipasti platter at Circo in NYC, New York

In addition to it, the candied fruits added a nice sweetness to counteract the sharp taste of the parmesan (nice quantity of it by the way). This definitely opened my appetite.

The second dish was Tortellini Mamma Egi or Handmade traditional Tortellini with Broth:
image of Tortellini Mamma Egi at Circo in NYC, New York

As Mamma Egi was next to me, I prayed that I would love this dish and not make a face, especially as she explained that she usually makes the tortellini for special guests and we were special! And guess what: I liked it!
image of Tortellini Mamma Egi at Circo in NYC, New York

The tortellini were cooked slightly al dente and were filled with a mix of meats and herbs that gave an incredible flavor that did not overshadow the delicious taste of these delicate pockets.

Then, came the Cappellaci Mantovani Con Zucca, Salvia, Saba or Pumpkin Cappellacci, Mantovana style, Butter, Sage, Saba Wine Sauce:
image of Pumpkin cappellacci at Circo in NYC, New York

Cappellacci are ravioli from the Province of Ferrara in Italy. Homemade, they were soft with a delicious filling. Overall, the dish had a nice bitterness as well as sweetness that I believe was enhanced by some brown sugar drizzled on top of the Cappellacci. This was really a sophisticated dish that I would definitely recommend to order if on the menu.

Then came the long awaited Bollito Misto:
image of Bollito Misto at Circo in NYC, New York

It came with different condiments such as salsa verde, candied fruits, sea salt and mustard seeds similar to a moutarde a l'ancienne.
image of Condiments for Bollito Misto at Circo in NYC, New York

The way you eat it is by adding the condiments, whichever you want, to the Bollito Misto. I first took each of these condiments and put them on the side of my plate to try each of them. Then, Mamma Egi grabbed the salsa verde and put a bit of it on the different pieces of meat that were on my plate, simply telling me: "Try this way, this is the way we do it". So I tried it this way! Before I explain what I though about the dish, let me tell you what was in there: there was capon and beef sausage, with vegetables, bathed in a light broth. At sight, I could see the similarities with the pot-au-feu, although, in a pot-au-feu, there is usually more vegetables and less varieties of meat. However, the concept and taste were very close, bringing me back to my childhood. I admit that, when I was a kid, I was not fond of this type of dishes. Maybe with the condiments, it would have been different, as they add a bit of fun and creativity in a way to the dish. My favorite piece of meat was the chicken and beef sausage: very tasty and comforting, Mamma Egi told me that she used to make it to make sure her sons would eat chicken. You can find the recipe of the Bollito Misto from Mamma Egi's cookbook by clicking here,  courtesy of the Maccioni Group.

Following the Bollito Misto, they served us dessert: Pere Cotte Al Vino Rosso Con Zabaione or Red Wine Poached Pear, Zabaglione:
image of red wine pear dessert at Circo in NYC, New York

Biscotti Fatti in Casa or Petit Fours:
image of biscotti dessert at Circo in NYC, New York

And we also tried Torta della Nonna con Gelato or Sable tart filled with vanilla cream with toasted pinoli nuts and cafe-latte gelato (not part of the Bollito Misto menu):
image of Torta de la Nonna at Circo in NYC, New York

The desserts were all good, making me wish that they would soon do the 1st Annual Dessert Week...
I ate them of course accompanied by an espresso!

This was a fantastic media event: the food was delicious and having the privilege to meet two members of one of the most iconic family of the food industry was priceless. The menu they propose for the 1st Annual Bollito Misto is a great opportunity to try dishes that go beyond the usual pizza and pasta dishes in an incredible setting, at a fair price $49.

Thank you to The Maccioni Family, The Maccioni Group, Chef Alfio Longo and Circo for having me!

Enjoy (I did)!

Circo on Urbanspoon
If you like this post or the photos, feel free to share it using the toolbar below or to write a comment! 

And Remember: I Just Want To Eat!

Please note that the meal was complimentary. However, the opinions expressed in my blog are 100% my own!

No comments:

Post a Comment