Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Trulli Lovely Evening

I love getting great deals for great restaurants.  I bought a groupon for my recent visit to Rouge Tomate from Yelp (I believe they offer deals every Thursday), which saved us a bundle, and I also got one from OpenTable: NYC Restaurants a couple months ago for I Trulli.  I have a stack of ones I purchased too, on sale, mind you!  In a city as expensive as New York, it's important to save where you can, and these sources have been very useful to me thus far.  I truly believe that it is worth your money to eat good food whenever possible, instead of wasting dollars and calories on absolute crap.  Even though a restaurant may seem out of your price range, take a moment and see if you can find any deals, any prix-fixe specials, a special brunch deal, theatre menu, anything that can get you through the doors to experience what they have to offer without completely emptying your wallet.  If you want to experience wonderful food and service, it's worth the extra effort to find ways to do it, even within a budget!

I also love making reservations using OpenTable, and accumulating points which I can use toward a gift certificate for any of the restaurants in their listings.  Pretty soon (I hope) I will be cashing in my points and splurging on a really fancy meal somewhere... have yet to decide the lucky recipient of my hard-earned gift certificate, haha.  These deals are available in so many cities, not just New York.  Check out the sites and maybe you can find a great deal for a restaurant you've been meaning to try in your very own city!  Just read all the restrictions and expiration dates before committing because some spots are very strict about when these can be used (for example, some places don't allow you to use them on weekends, or require a minimum dollar amount spent in order to use them).

I Trulli
122 E 27th St
(between Park Ave S & Lexington Ave)
New York, NY 10016
(212) 481-7372

I first heard of I Trulli in an episode of Food Network's The Best Thing I Ever Ate.  The Orecchiette with Rabbit Ragu was the dish featured, and a big part of the buzz behind the dish was not only the delicious sauce, but that on particular evenings, diners can actually watch Dora, the owner's mother, making all the pasta by hand.  It's always made in house, whether or not she puts on a show.  Also, the pastas are available in appetizer or entree portions (I love when restaurants do that) so you can have a tasting of pasta and still have room for a more substantial entree.

The garden seating area, covered over the top, with heaters to stay warm, but still open to fresh air!

A waterfall in the garden seating area

My friend and I decided to get 2 pasta appetizers and 2 fish entrees and split everything, which is an excellent plan to get to try more food!  We had to get the famous orecchiette with the tomatoey braised rabbit ragu, and also tried the special pasta of the day, Paglia e Fieno (I believe) which translated into "straw and hay."  It featured both regular egg spaghetti and spinach spaghetti, chanterelle mushrooms, prosciutto, peas, and a touch of cream.  We enjoyed both a lot.  The orecchiette had a lovely chewy texture, melt-in-your-mouth chunks of rabbit meat slowly cooked in a slightly sweet tomato sauce.  The spaghetti also had a great texture and tasted very light for a dish tossed in cream.  I enjoyed the mixture of textures and flavors, but was surprised as to how small the mushrooms and prosciutto were cut, as it was difficult to decipher them at times just by looking (in the defense of my vision, the seating area was very dimly lit).

Orecchiette with Rabbit Ragu (Appetizer Portion)

Paglia e Fieno (Appetizer Portion) - Egg and Spinach Spaghetti with Chanterelle Mushrooms, Prosciutto, Peas, and a Touch of Cream

Both fishes were cooked perfectly, juicy and delicious, not dry at all.  The cod boasted both an eggplant puree and some eggplant chunks along with roasted red peppers.  I love eggplant and really enjoyed these flavors together, and even slightly preferred this dish to the swordfish.  My dining companion actually preferred the swordfish, so I guess it was just a matter of taste.  That was served with tomatoes, artichokes, and green olives, a nice Mediterranean feel.  Like I said, both fish dishes were nicely cooked, flavorful, and very juicy.  It was a nice finish to our meal.  We were too full for dessert, but the menu definitely looked alluring to both of us.  Maybe next time!

Merluzzo - Chatham Cod, Eggplant, Tomatoes, Peppers, Roasted Eggplant Puree $28

Spada - Grilled Swordfish with Artichokes, Green Olives and Cherry Tomatoes $28


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