Antonucci, NYC

April 3, 2009

Walking from our apartment on my way to or from Eli’s, the best grocery store in NYC, I must have passed Antonucci dozens of times since it opened on East 81st Street three years ago. I have peered into its kitchen through the window to the right of the front door. Linda and I finally decided to try it on March 29, 2009.  We were its only customers for this Sunday lunch, which I find quite surprising, but the Upper East Side is obviously a difficult place to run a restaurant. In the last ten years this location has also housed Butterfield 81 (New American) and Pearson’s barbecue. The owner is the Venetian chef, Francesco Antonucci, who was a co-founder of Remi.

A bowl of fresh tomato sauce with a ball of herbed goat cheese was put on the table with a basket of good fresh bread.
ntb 

We discussed the menu and specials with the friendly and helpful waiter. We ordered a bottle of Chalk Hill Chardonnay, a faithful wine you can always count on. Linda’s first course was a half portion of Seafood Ravioli

The freshly made ravioli and the tomato sauce were light and good.

My first course was the risotto of the day with black squid ink and cuttlefish strips.
ntd
This was good, with the texture of a real Venetian risotto and the flavor of the squid. It was probably a mistake to order a full portion, not that I didn’t enjoy it, but it did become a bit boring after a while.

Linda went on to the first fish of the day, Arctic Char

The char and spinach were fresh and well prepared.

My main course was the other fish of the day, Branzino

I’m not sure what fish this was, probably not Mediterranean sea bass, or loup de mer or branzino. I would guess it was fresh local striped bass. Inside, where you cannot see it, was a large branch of fresh thyme which really made a difference. On the left are good fresh green beans dressed with pesto. On the right is nice spinach. Very good course.

We skipped dessert and coffee. The meal had been very nice. The cuisine was not unusual, but it was well executed with good ingredients and seemed authentically Italian, even Venetian except for the tomato. The décor is quite nice; noise level was not a problem as it was just us and some Brazilian music. We would be happy to go back.

nta 

Addendum:

We went back on August 24, 2009. I didn’t take notes or photos. It was very nice as before.

170 E 81st Street
New York, NY 10028
(212) 570-5100

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