Our first night's dinner is at Briciola, a small Italian wine bar in Hells' Kitchen. We share a bottle of Sangiovese while we wait for our table and are seated at a long, shared table, where we chat with the people around us. We start with a prosciutto and speck platter and octopus bruschetta, followed by the octopus special, rigatoni with shrimp, and garganelli with osso buco. We wrap up this great meal with creme brule and chocolate cake. It is all wonderful!
Stopping first at the bar
Prosciutto/speck, octopus bruschetta
Octopus, rigatoni/shrimp, garganelli/osso buco
Chocolate cake, creme brule
This year, we have reservations at Babbo, the great Italian restaurant near Washington Square Park. We've never been able to get reservations before, but we started several months early this time and were in luck! Previously we ate (without a reservation) in the bar area, which has a really great ambiance, but back in the restaurant is a different incredible experience. We've cooked many of the items on the Babbo menu ourselves, from the cookbook Molto Italiano, and it's great to come here and experience the way the dishes are supposed to be done and to try some that it is hard for us to make or source the ingredients (for example, wild boar).
We start with cocktails, manhattans and martinis (how civilized), accompanied by the amuse bouche from the chef. We share two appetizers, a Babbo salami (charcuterie) platter with baby fennel and grilled octopus (simmered in olive oil, sliced garlic and hot red pepper flakes, then baked for several hours, sliced, and charred on a hot grill), served with spicy limoncello vinagrette. We follow this extravaganza with three entrees, which Babbo splits for us: braised rabbit and veal with ricotta cheese ravioli, cabernet pappardelle with wild boar, and barbequed skirt steak. And, at the end, Vin Santo and a cookie platter. What an incredible dining experience!
Babbo salami, grilled octopus
Braised rabbit, veal, ricotta cheese ravioli
Pappardelle with wild boar
Barbequed skirt steak
Vin santo and cookies
We head over the Bobby Flay's Bar Americain. The restaurant is is closing in January after a long and successful run, but still incredible. We start with cocktails at the bar, accompanied (later at the table) by hot potato chips with blue cheese sauce and share two entrees: black sea bass with blood orange capers and haricots vert and Fulton Fish Market Cioppino. More great dishes!
Cocktails at the bar, looking out into the restaurant
Hot potato chips, blue cheese sauce
Cioppino, sea bass
Ray's Original Pizza
Pepperoni and mushroom pizza, one slice
Finishing up with ice cream
It's time to head home and see what next year's adventures and explorations will bring!