So at this point in my New York restaurant review journey we have had American and Japanese; now let’s take a trip to Italy. This experience was unlike any restaurant experience I have ever had. The executive chef of the Armani Ristorante is the former chef de cuisine of The Modern. He was very good friends with one of my coworkers, so when he heard that we were coming in to eat he went all out. After he came out to say hello our waitress informed us that he had a menu in mind for us and asked if he had permission to serve us as he pleased. Of course we said YES! Each course was paired with a different wine and any dish involving mushrooms was garnished with more white truffles than you could ever dream of. I was in heaven.
For the first course, Chef Sandro gave me La Burrata. How did he know that I am OBSESSED with burrata? This dish was burrata with pickled heirloom radishes and fruit mostarda from cremona. Pickling the radishes transformed them into a completely different item.
Chef gave Ben the Capesante Scottate, sautéed sea scallops over a potato puree with black truffles (plus the chef’s friendly addition of freshly shaved white truffles!). The one word I would have to use to describe this dish is, honestly, sexy. The scallops were cooked perfectly and the puree was silky smooth; not to mention WHITE TRUFFLES!
Next came our pasta courses. I was given the Tagliolini Verdi, a homemade spinach tagliolini with langoustine, mixed wild mushrooms and black truffles (once again with the gift of white truffles!). The bright green pasta was beautiful and I loved the whole langoustine used. This dish was rich, but not heavy. Once again- cooked to perfection.
Our mains couldn’t have been more on point for our personalities either. It is amazing how the chef constructed the menu without even knowing who I was. My main was the Costoletta D’agnello Scottaditto, grilled lamb chop, marinated with juniper berries, and crispy polenta.
Ben’s main was the Branzino Selvatico, a slow roasted wild sea bass with arugula salsa verde. The dish was so simple, yet so (once again) sexy. The arugula salsa was so vibrant and the pink peppercorns were so pretty across the top of the fish. The theme of perfectly cooked food continued through this course.
For dessert, I was given a pistachio molten lava cake with pandan ice cream. I have never had pandan before, but Ben knew exactly what it was when he saw it. Pandan leaves are used frequently in Southeast Asian cuisine and have a unique sweet, piney flavor and aroma. I am definitely going to seek out this ingredient again in Asia!
To this day, this meal might be the best meal that I have ever had. Not only was the food all cooked to perfection, but the menu was structured perfectly so that each course smoothly flowed into the next. Truly an amazing experience. Chef Sandro takes such pride in his work; I really encourage you to try this restaurant sometime, even if you aren’t getting complimentary white truffles on each dish!