Monday, October 18, 2010
Brunch Bets: Locanda Verde
Since leaving his post as Chef de Cuisine at Cafè Boulud, Andrew Carmellini has done just fine for himself. After a stint at A Voce, where he earned a Michelin Star, he left once again, teaming up with Robert DeNiro to open Locanda Verde. Surprising no one, the restaurant was an instant success, quickly establishing itself as one of the best Italian restaurants not only in Tribeca, but in all of New York. But lost in the fray of Carmellini's (deserving) success is Locanda Verde's talented Pastry Chef, Karen DeMasco, whose masterful exploits are not just limited to post-dinner treats. In fact, one of the city's best brunches can be found here, combining Carmellini's skill of all things savory with DeMasco's knack for sweets.
Unlike in the evening, the restaurant is a relative sea of calm during the morning. After grabbing a much needed cup of Coffee or shot of Espresso, peruse the menu and be prepared for the real challenge-- choosing between one of DeMasco's excellent pastries or something savory from the kitchen. Instead, we chose to split the difference and started with the Sheep's Milk Ricotta with Truffle Honey and Burnt Orange Toast. Honestly my favorite dish at the restaurant, there's little not to love about the ultra-light ricotta spiked with herbs and drizzled with a savory truffle honey which should be liberally applied over the provided pieces of burnt toast.
MW chose the "Scampi and Grits," with Organic Polenta, Tomato, Sausage and Coddled Eggs. Essentially, an Italian riff on shrimp and grits, wonderfully plump and tender shrimp in a tomato sauce sit perched above a bed of creamy polenta next to two eggs. Mixed with the wonderfully runny yolks, soft polenta, sausage and shrimp, this is a successful version of this southern classic.
Better yet, was my Uovo Modenese with Cotechino Hash, Spinach and Tomato Hollandaise. The interplay between the rich yolk, savory hash and spinach was good on its own but was further elevated by the tomato hollandaise tying the dish together. The accompanying piece of toast was used to mop up all the remaining sauce.
Craving something additional for brunch, we added a side of Crispy Garlic Potatoes. Incredibly crunchy and swimming in diced garlic and scallions these potatoes are quite possibly the best version I've had in New York.
An incredible array of sweet and savory selections in a pristine setting makes Locanda Verde the perfect brunch option should you find yourself in the Tribeca area and looking for some Italian comfort food or just a piece of DeMasco's famed olive oil coffee cake.
377 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10013
To see all our pics click the flickr link.