Saturday, November 6, 2010

Incredible Italian in TriBeCa + Giveaway Winner

Petrarca Cucina E Vino
34 White St
(between Church St & Franklin Pl)
New York, NY 10013
(212) 625-2800

The sheer number of restaurants in New York City is mind-blowing.  There are so many that I've heard of in passing, have had recommended to me, or have dined at myself, but inevitably there will be many great restaurants that one may be completely unaware of until that fortunate day when a friend invites you to a meal there.  This is what happened to me this week.  A friend was visiting from out of town and I insisted on seeing her while she was here, even if it meant having dinner at 10 pm (anyone who knows me knows that never happens).  Her dad had suggested Petrarca as one of his favorite restaurants, and as a businessman in the city, he dines out enough to have narrowed down his tried and true favorites.  Apparently Petrarca is one of them.

I headed down to TriBeCa to meet with her and a couple other friends for dinner.  I immediately noticed the warm and inviting interior through the large windows, wine bottles lining just about every square-inch of the walls.  We were greeted by the owner as we entered and were escorted to our table.  Starved at this point, we sampled fresh and crusty Italian bread with exceptionally good olive oil.  We ordered almost immediately.  Salads all around to start.  I had the roasted red beets with green beans and goat cheese.  It was so simple, sweet with a bit of tang from the goat cheese, a marriage made in Heaven.  My dining companions all loved their salads as well, and we collectively licked our plates clean.

Roasted Red Beets and Goat Cheese $12 

Finocchio - Shaved Fennel with Grapefruit $12 

Rucola - Arugula with Shaved Parmesan $10.50 

For entrees, we all made selections off the pasta menu instead of having meat or fish.  I tend to always order pasta at an Italian restaurant, even if it's considered a poor man's meal (flour and eggs, anyone?).  I love seeing how it can be turned into something exquisite with the right amount of finesse.  I couldn't resist the pappardelle al Petrarca, fresh egg pasta generously sauced in a well-seasoned pink sauce, spotted with sweet peas, and topped with crispy prosciutto.  I. Ate. Every. Last. Bite.  No guilt, not even after 10 pm (come get me carb police, I don't care!).  I've had versions of this dish at other restaurants, but this may have been my favorite.  The fresh pasta really makes a difference, and I appreciate a heavy hand with my pasta sauce, especially when it's this good!  Pure perfection.  I tasted all of my companions' dishes as well.  The penne al tonno featured fresh grilled tuna chunks and a sauce reminiscent of puttanesca.  So fresh, and so delicious.  The gnocchi was light and fluffy, not dense at all, and was presented in a rich tomato sauce.  It's mistress, a self-proclaimed gnocchi connoisseuse, said it was one of the best she's ever had.  Finally, the linguine di seppia was a great version of a traditional pasta with seafood, but replacing plain pasta with squid ink pasta, and offering a very generous selection of seafood along with the noodles.

Pappardelle al Petrarca - Wide Pasta with Peas, Prosciutto in a Pink Sauce $17.50

Penne al Tonno - Tuna with Tomatoes, Black Olives and Capers $17.50

Gnocchi alla Padovana - Homemade Potato Dumpling with Tomato and Fresh Herbs $17.50

Linguine Di Seppia - Black Linguine with a Seafood and Tomato Sauce $19

You definitely get what you pay for!  These portions are very generous.  The prices are a bit high across the board, but I assure you they are worth it.  This was one of my best Italian meals, and there was no checkered table cloth involved, no "Little Italy" labels, just really great ingredients put together beautifully.  Bravo!  Service was also excellent, and for those diners who chose to partake in the extensive wine list, I am happy to share that not only do you get a glass of wine when you order one, but it comes with a sidecar of more wine.  If that's not incentive to get a glass of wine, I don't know what is.  You should all add Petrarca to your New York City to do list.  Period.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the CSN Stores gift certificate giveaway!!  I used to select a winner... #18 is Lucy!  In her winning comment, Lucy followed Mission: Food on Twitter and tweeted about the giveaway :) Congratulations!  Buy something good!


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