Suzy in the City
A Night Out in NoLita
Monday, August 16, 2010
Suzy loves magical nights in Manhattan. We celebrated my brother's 40th birthday at a new restaurant called Torrisi Italian Specialties in Little Italy that's not to be missed.
You say you've been to numerous outstanding Italian restaurants? This is a different kind of dining experience. By day, it's an Italian deli (try the Turkey Hero if you're in the neighborhood). In the evening, Torrisi Italian Specialties creates Italian-American foods using only domestic ingredients.
The restaurant space is quaint -- your grandma's china and no linens -- and intimate -- the dining rooms seats at most 18 folks packed into booths and small tables. There are no reservations so make sure to show up early. (The line on weekdays starts before 6 PM when the doors open.) It feels as though you've dropped into someone's kitchen. The chefs who have cooked with Boulud and Batali offer a modest-at-first-glance prix fixe menu of $50. Your choice? Meat or Fish. Then leave the rest to them.
The four-course menu changes every night. The one constant is the made-to-order mozzarella, whose consistency is unique even to cheese lovers. ("It never hits the fridge", our waitress explained.)
Small plates rush the table and the night has just begun. We raved over the ossa bucca bruschetta. Each antipasti was just enough to intrigue the palate but not overwhelm you with quantity. Onto the pasta, which also comes in a manageable portion. This night it was linguini with seafood peppered with Tabasco. Sounds crazy? No way. We couldn't wait for the pork chops with peppers or tile fish topped with homemade olive marinade. We can't rave enough. Finally, a small cone of grapefruit or apple sorbet is served to prepare you for dessert. Suzy's not a dessert fan but the tiny portions of treats were delicious. Instructed to eat the five small pieces in order so as to finish with a nutty espresso hit to cap the meal, we followed orders and were rewarded.
Torrisi received 5 stars in the New York Magazine review.
Torrisi Italian Specialties
250 Mulberry St., New York, NY 10012
nr. Prince St.