L'Artusi: Modern Italian At Its Best
Hello, food babies. Whether or not you celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope all of you had a great week with excessive amounts of food and/or shopping. Today, I want to talk about one of my newest favorites in the city. It's called L'Artusi, named after Pellegrino Artusi, who wrote La Scienza in Cucina e L'Arte di Mangiare Bene (The Science of Cookery and the Art of Eating Well). L'Artusi prides itself on serving modern and legit Italian dishes.
When we arrived, we were welcomed with two friendly hostesses and were seated immediately (with reservation). The atmosphere was very relaxed and lively. There are two floors with enough seating for over 100 people. The restaurant also has a private dining room (in their 2,500 bottle wine cellar... a.k.a. paradise), a cheese bar, a chef's counter (peering into the kitchen), and a long bar table.
OK. Food time. The menu (November 2014) consists of 6 categories: crudo (raw), verdura (vegetables), pasta, pesce (fish), and carne (meat). Most of the dishes are medium-sized, which means they're not large enough to make you full. So, you have to get at least 2-3 dishes per person. Steph and I were pretty hungry when we came here but we only ordered a crudo, a verdura, two pastas, and a side of Brussels Sprouts.
Address: 228 W 10th St, New York, NY 10014
Escolar with avocado, basil, and chilies
Roasted Mushrooms with pancetta, fried egg, and ricotta salt
Spaghetti with garlic, chilies, and parmesan
Charred Octopus with potatoes, olives, chilies, and pancetta
Pici with braised pork ragu and parmesan
For our verdura, we got the roasted mushrooms with pancetta and ricotta salata with a fried egg on top. I know this is blasphemous to say... but I do not like mushrooms (unless they're truffles). The texture is just too weird for me and I don't like some of the earthy flavors.
However, I LOVED these mushrooms. After mixing up all of the ingredients, we had five amazing flavors working with each other to entice our appetites. We got the yolkiness from the egg, the cheesy greatness from the ricotta salata, the earthiness from the mushrooms, the savoriness from the roasting, and the amazing meaty flavor from the pancetta. This is genius. These are practically the only mushrooms I would willingly eat.
For our second appetizer, we got the escolar with avocado, basil, and chilies. It's raw fish, similar to sashimi, but the raw fish is often cured with salt or lemon juice. Steph and I aren't 100% sure but sauce was some sort of olive oil and lemon juice mixture. I think they might have added some broth as well. It was very good. The fish was soft and full of flavor.
For my entree, I ordered the Spaghetti. It sounds silly to order Spaghetti at an Italian restaurant with so many other unique, traditional pasta choices. However, it was definitely my favorite dish at L'Artusi. As I was eating it, I felt pure joy. But soon, I felt confused because there wasn't even any real sauce to it. It was just spaghetti, garlic, parmesan, and chilies (more like tiny, spiced croutons). It was so simple that it scared me how something so simple could taste so good. Is that even allowed? Despite all the mixed emotions, I loved the pasta. I would really love to learn how to make it so I can eat it every week. But for now, I'll just keep going back to L'Artusi.