Some people say NYC has some of the best Italian food they've ever had. I've had my fair share of Italian in the city and while some places do stand out (Osteria Morini and Dinnertable) many of them don't. When I heard about L'Artusi I didn't think twice about it- yes it is Italian and it should be ok, I thought. That was until I sat down at the chef's table and watched the concentration in which the chefs and sous chefs were making these dishes. They had an entire cheese counter just for plating cheeses- the garnishes, oil, truffle and sea salt were placed neatly in a row for the chefs. That alone is a sign of a restaurant that knows what they are doing. Sadly I forgot to capture my cheese plate because I devoured it however, I can certainly tell you about it. We ordered La Tur (soft goat, sheep, cow milk) with baked coconut chips. It was served with sweet and savory parmesan crackers. The combination which I would have never put together opened up an entire new palate in my mouth. We later recreated this cheese plate at home because it is the type of dish that stays on your mind. Our pastas were incredible and the desserts are made to finish the night on the perfect note. There is a reason why L'Artusi is a staple in New York's Italian food scene and I am happy to now know why.
Usually gnocchi deflates or is too starchy but mine was definitely boiled at the right temperature and seared just enough to get the brown butter flavor. The rabbit ragu will remind you of veal but, the taste is definitely richer.
The Linguine Nero with rock shrimp, breadcrumbs and chilies are every squid ink lover's dream (hint: me). Squid ink can be heavy and the breadcrumbs definitely help break that consistency and brings a nice flavor change to the dish. The garlic, chilies and shrimp were deliciously marinated and present throughout the dish. Squid ink may always be a winner but it definitely did not outshine the other components on the dish this time which I was very grateful for.
The olive oil cake with raisins and creme fraiche mousse was heavenly. The cheese and pasta can wear you down but this dish will lift you back up. The cake is moist and the mousse is light. The raisins go very well with the mousse and the cake. Take a spoonful of each for the perfect bite.
Every single item was amazing here. Be adventurous and try a pasta with ingredients you may have never tried before. The desserts are not to be missed as well. We were tempted to order the panna cotta but, the olive oil cake was screaming my name. You are in good hands at L'Artusi.