June 12, 2012
Maialino is the newest of Danny Meter’s serious restaurants in New York. It is supposed to resemble a Roman trattoria. Linda and I went the first time for dinner on Sunday, May 6, 2012.
One enters through an informal bar area with tables and a counter. It was raucous, casual and filled with people having a good time. We were shown to a table in the back corner of the back room, which was more calm. This was the view from our table with the bar area in the distance. To our left were three large tables with extended families enjoying a Sunday meal; that seemed Italian.
We started with glasses of Prosecco di Valdobbiadene, Bortolotti (Veneto) NV; nice. We went on to bottle of 2008 Avignonesi Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. It was excellent, rich, smooth and a good sangiovese flavor.
The bread basket arrived.
We ordered the MAIALINO SUNDAY PASTA TASTING, passing up some interesting à la carte possibilities and the specials..
Spaghetti alla Chitarra
Charred Ramps, Black Pepper & Pecorino
Some freshly ground aromatic black pepper, as I imagined it reading the course description, would have brought out the subtle, seasonal flavor of the charred ramps and the pecorino. But instead we got the curse of American cuisine: a big dose of unannounced, unneeded, inappropriate red pepper flakes which kill the flavors of the dish and the wine. I think that the spaghetti would have been lovely without them.
Asparagus, Morels & Roasted Garlic
We enjoyed this traditional seasonal dish a lot after we had cleared our palates.
Pork Sausage, Chard & Black Truffle Cream
Truffle cream was a peculiar combination to go with sausage and chard; its elegance nullified their rustic charm for me, but Linda liked the flavor.
Braised Rabbit & Castelvetrano Olives
This was okay; it needed more rabbit to be substantial enough for the final pasta.
Torta della Nonna
Roman Pine Nut Tart & Lemon Caramel
This was superb; the flavors were fresh and beautifully balanced.
Well, obviously we were disappointed to have only two excellent dishes among the five. As always at a Danny Meyer restaurant, the service was very good. He would have been satisfied if he looked around us and saw so many people having a very good time. I am sure that Maialino will continue to be a success without us.