It was sort of a Danny Meyer weekend for me. Have been really wanting to try Maialino in the Gramercy Park Hotel ever since my friend Half Hopi mentioned it to me and I saw it profiled on Food Network. Something about suckling pig?!?!?!?!?!
So we went there for lunch Saturday…..and bumped into Tom Colicchio on the way out. Score. (yes, he is a fox; those steel blue eyes) So, great sighting and this place must be tasty…
Cute place. It feels like a farmhouse type setting but slightly more upscale. Actually the decor reminded me alot of Gramercy Tavern for some reason (which is also run by Danny Meyer): lots of wood and there’s blue checkerboard tablecloth and very bright bouquets of flowers everywhere.
I sort of had a food hangover from the night before at The Bar Room but the Hungry Korean’s work must continue :).
We started with a couple snacks.
The proscuitto cotto biscuit:
This was a very very buttery biscuit with bits of proscuitto cooked in and then drizzled with some golden honey. If you like your biscuits flaky and buttery and southern style with honey to contrast against your savory…get this. Every bite you could taste that butter. I like butter…..
The fried artichokes with anchovy dipping sauce:
This was ok. I love fried artichokes but these were over fried and all you taste was fried. You lost the mild sour and sweet taste of the actual artichoke. I love anchovy dressing of any kind but no taste of anchovy here. Didn’t think this was that successful. Perhaps if the artichokes were fried a little less longer?
The fried potato skins with pecorino and black pepper:
Again I guess I was expecting thicker cut potatoes or the more traditional take on potato skins with the potatoes halved and the insides scooped out? This tasted exactly like the fried artichokes – fried. You lost any potato flavoring due to the frying. Again would it have tasted differently if they hadn’t been fried too long?
Both Cookie Monster and I got the restaurant’s signature dish: Malfatti al Maialino
Good thing because this portion was not large enough to share and I would not have wanted to share it AT ALL. It is wide ribbon pasta with shredded suckling pig tossed in an incredibly savory and rich sauce, then topped with peppery arugula. Wow that sauce. It was not cream based but just as rich. You could taste the richness – it was thick and so full of collagen-like stickiness it coated every strand of pasta, every piece of suckling pig, your tongue, your lips….I was dying because it was so good. The pasta is, of course, freshly made so you had a great bite each time. But seriously that suckling pig was so tender, so juicy, so full of flavor. Here’s a close up:
Definitely not a big portion but definitely worth getting. I could have two plates of this pasta.
For dessert, our server told us the tiramisu was out of this world….so we got it:
It was basically a square of creamy custard with hints of tiramisu flavoring. My favorite kind of dessert is anything with custard. Again, this was not enough for the both of us. We could have had a huge bowl of it! YUM
So the pasta was unreal. UNREAL. I would skip the snacky things we had to start and go straight to the real deal. There was a porchetta sandwich on the menu as well I was eyeing. Must go back to try that. If you are a pork lover, as I am, this place might have the dish to make you squeal.
Maialino, 2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY