Locanda Verde – NYC
Locanda Verde, the Tribeca Italian on the ground floor of Robert de Niro’s Greenwich Hotel, continues to get nods from all over. Chef Andrew Carmellini’s fans from A Voce and Cafe Boulud (where he supposedly served up the best fried chicken south of 96th St.) generate enough positive buzz to keep the place constantly humming.
While waiting for my husband, I sit at the oak bar nursing a glass of the Produttori Langhe Nebbiolo 2007, sniffing and savoring the licorice with each sip. I’m surrounded by mahogany beams and dark wood louvered windows, more masculine and traditional than yin and minimalist. After my husband arrives and we are seated, the waiter explains that the items on the menu are served family style. This suits us fine as we tend to share everything anyway; however, methinks we ordered too much.
Wood fired king prawn with garlic lemon and sweet pepper. My favorite. Not only is the head still on (which begs for sucking the juices out), the body is done just until barely opaque. Quite a feat as most restaurants seem to overcook grilled shrimp to a tough chewy consistency. The confit of thinly sliced lemon is sweet and punchy at the same time.
Chicken liver crostino with vin santo and sultanas.
Crispy artichokes with yogurt & mint.
Linguini with lobster rock shrimp zucchini & toasted garlic. The grainy breadcrumbs provide a nice contrast to the smooth pasta. Overall, a subtle briny flavor permeates the dish, reminding me of capers even though there wasn’t one in sight.
Spaghetti with lamb amatriciana. Very good but it hasn’t dethroned Brio in my book. For nearly twenty years, I’ve been going to that casual neighborhood restaurant in the vicinity of Bloomingdale’s. Always for lunch and always the Bucatini Amatriciana.
Shaved porchetta sandwich with grilled onions and provolone. I’m appalled at the size of this sandwich. In the end, I had to abandon the bread and just concentrate on the slices of lean but moist and flavorful pork punctuated by sour bites of pickled onions.
We’re so full that we couldn’t find room for dessert. Thank goodness my mind has more capacity than my stomach, I’m already thinking about Chef Carmellini’s Monday night fried chicken dinners.