Please note that the meal was complimentary. However, the opinions expressed in my blog are 100% my own!
Yesterday evening, I was invited at ORO, an Italian restaurant that opened last August in Long Island City, conveniently located five minutes from the Queensboro Plaza subway stop. I was really surprised when I entered this place as I did not expect a place so spacious, modern and elegant, but with a casual feel.
There, I got the chance to meet with the Chef, Scott Andriani, who crafted a very interesting menu.
I started off my meal with a cocktail, a mule sweet and bitter made with muddled strawberries, Russian vodka, campari, lime juice, topped with ginger beer and a strawberry. This was delicious, the taste of strawberry coming through and making it very refreshing. But, this is the type of drink that you would sip without realizing there is alcohol in it...
Then, they brought us some homemade bread, one was made with fennel and the second one with onions. It was quite good bread, the crust being crispy and not too thick, and quite light, cooked in their brick oven.
Then came the appetizers. We tried:
Butternut squash arancini made with aborio rice, aged parmesan cheese and served with a sage-lemon aioli. I thought it was an interesting dish as different from the classic rice balls. I really liked the sweetness the butternut squash added to the dish.
Meatball parmigiana served with a tomato basil sauce. These meatballs were delicious, not dry. There was a hint of lemon in that dish that I found unusual and surprising.
Charred octopus on top of a white bean ragout, charred peppers, roasted garlic and paprika aioli. The octopus was not rubbery and had a nice char. However, I found it a bit salty. The white bean ragout though was fantastic.
This was definitely a good start and I was looking forward to try the entrees. The first one was the squid ink linguini, served with mixed seafood and a tomato broth. I love squid ink pasta and was in heaven. Know that the pasta there is homemade. They were perfectly cooked and, with the sauce, were sublime. There was also a large amount of seafood, from mussels, to shrimp, squid and clams, all well cooked.
The second entree was the deep dish grandma pizza that was made with plum tomato, fresh mozzarella and herb oil (rosemary for sure). I admit that I was expected something different, like a fusion between the Chicago deep dish pizza and the Sicilian. It was good, but did not stand out for me.
With the entrees came some sides. The first one was quite unusual: corn creme brûlée. This was a great side: creamy and delightfully sweet.
The second one was the crispy brussels sprouts drizzled with bacon vinaigrette, another delicious side that I recommend, especially if you do not like brussels sprout: this will change your mind.
Last were the desserts and we got spoiled. We tried:
Strawberry pannacotta with kiwi sorbet (Restaurant Week dessert):
All the desserts were delicious, but I admit that my favorite was the pannacotta that was perfectly set. I should also mention the kiwi sorbet that was surprising: it was the first time I had that flavor and loved it: they make it with the kiwi seeds that kind of give the same bite you have with the fruit. I hope they will add that to their regular menu.
The dinner at ORO was great: the food was simply delicious. ORO is definitely a place to know.
Enjoy (I did)!
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