We got there the really long way, because Hubby got confused and led us back and fro, crossing 5th Ave at least 2 times before finding the right direction. Guess corporate America gets people confused =S
When we arrived, we thought we were the first ones, but one of our friends had already come first, waiting for us at the second floor. I was surprised at how large the restaurant was, even though it was on 57th near 5th, one of the busiest (you would think) streets in NYC. But alas, we were glad that it wasn't uber crowded.
We chatted for about 20 minutes before our other friend showed up. Then we ordered and munched on some house-bake rolls. They were pretty decent, with a crusty coating on the outside that made the bread crackle as you snapped it open.
Inside was a starchy softness, though a bit dry in my opinion. Woulda been nice if it has been baked with more butter. Everyone drizzled some olive oil to dip their bread in, but I guess I was still accustomed to the French way of eating bread with butter (totally bad for your body but good for your heart).
Insalata Di Arugula
Pappardelle Alla Toscanese
We also got a pasta dish of pappardelle with sun-dried tomatoes, wild mushroom, marsala wine, aged parmigiano and pecorino cheese in a creamy sauce. This was perhaps the creamiest pasta I've ever had.
It was like a party in your mouth, an intellectual one that is, with the flavors of the wine and pecorino cheese dancing in philosophical harmony. The noodle itself was cooked al dente, providing a nice contrast to the more astringent sun-dried tomatoes.
Of course, who can forget the pizza? We got a 15" pie with pepperoni, broccoli, mushrooms and spinach toppings to share amongst the 4 of us.
I've got to say that the salad was life-changing. It was this sweet n sour mixture of well, veggies. But it tasted very rich, with the sun-dried tomatoes and Parmesan cheese adding more dimension and body to it. Everyone agreed that the salad was delish. Even though we got the individual portion for both the salad and pasta dishes (suitable for 2 people), it was enough for the 4 of us.
And the pizza? Out of this world. I loved how the pizza came warm and toasty straight out of the coal-oven. Everything on the pizza tasted fresh, including the mushroom and broccoli, so it was as if we were eating actually something healthy (probably not). It was a fine balance between the tangy sauce and fresh ingredients that made the pizza at once bucolic and a piece of art.
Yes, these are real veggies on it
The thin crust was so good to chew on, and easy on the teeth. Even the very end of the crust tasted pretty good. Like the story goes, Angelo, the creator of the restaurant, wanted real pizza with blackened and crisp crust. And only fresh mozzarella and tomatoes. This was it indeed. We dipped our crusts in the pasta sauce to savor the creamy flavor.
We chatted, laughed and had a great time. No wonder companies on 5th Ave come here for corporate events. Even the stuffiest white collars can relax with the good food and atmosphere. (Plus the wait staff are friendly and attentive, and give you the option of having the food comes out in courses or altogether).
**** (4/5 stars)
117W 57th Street
Kids-friendly (reservations just to be sure for weekday lunches)