I passed so many times in front of Azalea that we finally decided to try that place and you know what? Although most of their patrons are theater goers and tourists (full before 7pm and start emptying at 7:30pm, so that's how I guessed that), it serves pretty good Italian cuisine, at the prices of Times Square (not cheap, but not outrageous prices). This is a big place with a nice amount of light thanks to the very large windows of the main dining room. In fact, I suggest you try to sit there, the little room in the back being quite dark, unless you want some privacy...
I started the meal with a Spritz made with aperol that was a good start.
For appetizer, we decided to share their Sformatino Di Pere, that is a warm pear and gorgonzola soufflé served with a parmesan cheese fondue. This was so good: it is the first time I see such a dish and it was an interesting combination, the pear adding some sweetness to an all cheese dish. If you go to Azalea, I definitely recommend this.
For her entree, Jodi ordered an appetizer: the Melanzana Alla Parmigiana or fried eggplant with parmesan cheese and tomato sauce, that was also quite good and well made (I hate when eggplant is undercooked). We were surprised that they did not have eggplant parmesan as an entree, and this was a good alternative, but only if you have a small appetite like my wife.
On my side, I first wanted to try their linguine alle vongole, but finally got the Spaghetti All' Amatriciana (spaghetti with pancetta, onion, fresh tomato sauce and pecorino cheese), so Jodi could try. This was superb: the pasta was well cooked, smothered by a delicious sauce with a robust flavor that had a generous amount of pancetta in it.
Last was dessert and of course, we went for the tiramisu that was very good, delightfully creamy.
Azalea is a fairly good Italian place in the Theater District: a good address if you are in the area.
Enjoy (I did)!
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Azalea - 224 W 51st Street, New York, NY 10019