Being a person who longs for eating handmade al dente pastas and delicate yet fragrant sauces, I am on a search for real authentic Italian food similar to what I ate in Italy. I am not sure what places in NYC can provide me this quality of Italian food (so maybe someone can provide me some recommendations), but I am going to go through NY Mag’s Two for Eight, Notable Italian restaurants. The first one on the list to try is Convivio.
It is located at 45 Tutor City Place and as a veteran New Yorker, I didn’t know where that was. Turns out that it is on a small street nestled within Midtown East, right across from the United Nations. At first, I mistakenly go into an apartment building with the same address, and the doorman tells me the restaurant is right next door. I finally make it through the rain and get into the restaurant, which is nicely decorated with warm yet clean furniture: a large mirror, simple and beautiful floral arrangements, and a red velvet seats line the wall. The wait staff is friendly and professional, informing us of the prix fix menu that is two courses for $28, and its conditions:
1. You can choose two courses, either an appetizer + pasta, pasta + pasta, or appetizer + entrée.
2. You cannot have two entrees.
3. Any additional course is $12.
Their pasta portions are sizable for a girl like me, but probably not enough for a boy with a hefty appetite. I ordered an appetizer called Polpettine, tomato braised meatballs and a ricotta salada, since I have been on a quest to find the “perfect meatball” (but that’s meant as a whole other post altogether).
Their meatballs were tender and juicy, but a little salty for my taste. I liked the tomato sauce that came with it because it helped cut the salt and provided a tart and sweet flavor to the meatballs.
Then came the pasta – Pappardelle al Nero di Seppia, which is their squid ink pasta with seppia (cuttlefish), mussels, and swordfish polpettine. The pasta was al dente and the seafood, nicely cooked, provided the unami flavor to the pasta. The swordfish polpettine reminds me of Chinese seafood cake because of its similarity in texture and shape, so that made the dish even tastier and fun to eat.
I walked out feeling not too full or hungry, perfectly satisfied with the lunch. Convivio comes close to what I experienced in Italy, more so than other Italian restaurants that I have encountered in NYC. My intention is to go back for dinner to see how their full menu compares to lunch. As for now, Convivio has given me a small taste of Italy, which is all I can ask for.