TV shows are a great way to find restaurants and, once again, it was thanks to our television that we found our next target: L'Apicio, an Italian-inspired restaurant located in Greenwich Village. This time, it was not because of an episode of Unique Eats, but The Best New Restaurant, the show with Tom Colicchio, co-produced with Chef Gordon Ramsay, that is trying to find the best new restaurant in the US, crowning the winner after tense duels.
We saw the episode where L'Apicio was featured and immediately booked a table. It was few weeks ago, my bookings being already full. So, when we arrived, I remembered two things: first, they use a nice amount of heat in their cooking, the Executive Chef being from Texas and marrying Texan flavors with Italian ones, hence the label Italian-inspired. The second one was that the pork chop is their specialty.
I admit that I did not really remember the decor there, but immediately liked the warmth of the dining room, whether it came from the wood (I respect it, Mr Larry David) or the exposed bricks.
We sat in the room adjacent to the bar, thankful that we would have lots of light for the photos, light that was coming from the floor to ceiling windows.
In terms of the menu, I hesitated. There was the quail, served with braised cipollini, maitake mushroom and a pickled pearl onion, and the charred octopus, that came with fregola (a pasta from Sardinia), pepperoni, olives and lemon. I decided to go for the latter...
First, the presentation was very nice, but I admit that I was expecting more octopus for the price. At least, the octopus was delicious: perfectly cooked and charred, not rubbery, with enough acidity to it from the lemon. Then, the pasta, pepperoni and olives were an outstanding combination, the pepperoni giving a nice heat to the dish.
Jodi decided to go for the bibb salad, served with nice chunks of gorgonzola, pancetta and croutons.
But this was only the start of a fantastic dinner. Our entrées definitely convinced us that we were in a good place (in all senses of the expression).
Jodi ordered the tajarin, which is pasta that looked like tagliatelle. They came with morel mushrooms, garlic, parmesan and thyme.
On my side, I ordered the garganelli verde with lamb bolognese, chili and pecorino cheese (I asked for not too spicy, remembering the show...).
Both pasta dishes were delicious. Homemade, they were perfectly cooked and their accompaniments were perfect, whether it was the morel mushrooms or the lamb bolognese. No need to say that I finished my dish!
For dessert, although full, we could not resist. Jodi ordered the caramelized pineapple cake. What made her pick this was the coconut, as it was composed of tapioca coconut and toasted coconut gelato. I should not forget the sublime almond cake that was underneath.
On my side, I chose the chocolate hazelnut ice cream cake. If you love hazelnut, this is definitely a must have. It has a salted-caramel gelato that gave a nice sweet and salty dimension to the dessert, as well as a praline-hazelnut crunch that was divine. I also finished it...
This was a fantastic dinner and we were surely not disappointed. I am not not sure how L'Apicio is going to perform on the show (we need to catch up few episodes), but do not care in that: it is a great place, although on the pricey side. I should mention that the service was courteous and efficient, definitely contributing to this great experience. So, no need to ask me if I would go back: I guess you know what I would say. But, what about you?
Enjoy (I did)!
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