Great Italian in the East 30s
Try La Giara, on 3rd Ave. just below 34th St. It's a
small, very good Italian restaurant. Prices are
reasonable: appetizers & desserts were $6-$8, main
dishes $15-$20. The food was really special. We
started with a salad of tomatoes with the best
mozzerella di buffalo that I've ever had, followed it
with risotto with truffle oil and parmesian cheese, and
then duck breast cooked in grappa with raisins and
orange flavor. And they make a fine tiramisu.
Here was a case where chowhound really paid off. Thanks so much for the recommendation of La Giara, Josh. We had a terrific meal. Our waiter was Luigi and he was neurotic in his need/desire to please us. At one point we were talking about a movie and the word "bad" came up. He heard it two tables away and ran over to see what was wrong .
He also nudged us toward a particular wine and it was terrific. The wine list is excellent but pricey (mainly because almost all the vintages are excellent ones).
Some of the highlights: a vibrant bruschetta giveaway; the caprese salad (you were right on, Josh -- it's the best buffalo mozarella I've ever had, too); a pastry with wild mushrooms in a creamy sauce; risotto with clams and seafood; sweet sausages with sauteed broccoli rabe; a veal chop (the shape and size of the state of Idaho); homemade tiramisu and creme brulee. Even excellent decaf coffee and good espresso. A few dishes were extremely oily.
Luigi brought us a free after-dinner drink to help celebrate our friend's birthday. We had an early 7:00 p.m. start but by the time we left, it was jammed, yet we weren't pressured to leave.
I'd guess this would be an extremely pleasant place to go for lunch; that is, if they are open. I'll definitely be back.
re: Dave Feldman
I had been dying to try La Giara for a while, since it opened.
I live a few blocks away and have been very happy to find a few excellent,
reasonably priced Italian restaurants in the neighborhood. La Giara turned out to be a VERY nice surprise.
The vegetable tart in asparagus puree was divine, the veal medallions my boyfriend had
was superb and the rest of the meal, including the bread (very important)
NB: Notaro on 2nd avenue between 34th and 35th streets is also a wonderful
little Italian restaurant. I consider both fine dining without the uptown prices.
Notaro is also charming, comfortable and the service impeccable.