Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Hungry Monkey: Basso 56 Restaurant

There are so many restaurants in NYC, that even when you find one you love you often end up not getting back there for quite some time. Since I went to Basso 56 over a year ago with the divine Miss Kyle (she of The Obsessed Chef blog fame: http://theobsessedchef.blogspot.com/). The meal we had back then was fantastic from beginning to end. I've always wanted to return and finally did last night.
My valentine, Courtney, and I began with a glass of Prosecco Jeio from Veneto, crisp and clean, and it went well with the bruschetta, bowl of olives, and crusty bread that were brought to us as we perused the menu.
For apps we got Calamari all Griglia - tender, grilled calamari (about 8 pieces!) with baby arugula over an eggplant puree. The puree didnt have much flavor, but the calamari was perfect and the spicy arugula balanced it out. We also got Carciofi e Parmigiano, a baby artichoke salad with some greens and lemon and truffle oil. Very light and a great starter, topped with punchy parmigiano cheese shavings.
I ordered Baccala in Crosta di Patate , a nice-sized piece of fresh cod, baked with a potato crust over some sliced potato on a fennel puree. Accompanying this was a dollop of whipped potato with a few homemade potato chips. The fish was succulent and full of flavor, and I was going to get a Soave Classico but instead opted for a less fruity recommendation by our waiter that was a special, didnt get its name. C got a robust glass of 2008 Poggia d'Elsa, a cabernet/sangiovese blend from Tuscany, mainly a sangiovese with the bite of a cab-sauv behind it. Quite good.
Her dish was the ravioli of the day, spinach and ricotta in a light tomato sauce. A good portion, the filling tasted very fresh and the pasta was light.
Basso 56 was in the LES on Orchard St before moving uptown. A few steps down into a long and narrow space with the bar upfront. At the other end is an open kitchen. Too often it's a loud, cramped affair in places like this, but Basso 56 gives just a little extra space between tables where you don't feel as if you're dining with those next to you. You'll find the staff here very helpful and professional offering excellent service. The food is fantastic - a solid menu, big Italian wine selection, great specials, and a light touch to the dishes with lots of flavor and fresh ingredients. Sometimes Italian restaurants are coma-inducing heavy cheese and sauce experiences, but not here. Highly recommended!
Basso 56, 234 W. 56th betw 8th Ave and Broadway, NYC

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