Let The Truth Be Told ! Is It Architectural Food Or Freshness?
Its FRESHNESS and you will have it all at Marchi's (31st St and 2nd Ave). Wifey an I went here last night for Valentine's Day Dinner and , while we have been here many times over the years with the menu unchanged, last evening's dinner was particularly enjoyable after all those many 'architectural' plates one has at those pricey and popular 'in crowd' joints in Manhattan.
The Antipasto was full with a large platter of FRESH celery, fennel, huge raddishes, succulent whole tomatoes and ripe, FRESH honeydew mellon slices. Add to this a plate full of Marchi's signature shredded red cabbage salad mingled with pitted olives, capers, Italian tuna flakes and a delicious vigin olive oil and Roman white wine vinegar; this plate was 'soft' and 'gentle' to the palette and very special. The breads were a mixed selection of crusty and FRESH Italian breads, sessame sticks , toasts and flaky foccacia.
Homemade lasagna a la bolognese was next and a real 'tease'; this gets better every time we eat it here. Thin slices of homemade pasta with paper thin slices of muzzarella ensconced with the most delicious sauce around...simply scrumptious (and its not uncommon to hear, as we did last evening from the next table, "I wish I could have another helping"). This 'teaser' was followed with a platter of Whiting fish which the Waiter served-up, delicately battered and pan fried. Bowls of FRESH sliced beets and FRESH cut string beans, boiled al dente and served with a 'gentle' touch of virgin olive oil and Roman white wine vinegar; these vegetables seemed that they were just harvested. Then came the 'best'...
A platter of roasted and crusty chicken breasts and thighs with another platter of THE MOST delicious mushrooms, again with FRESH parsely and a scant of olive oil in a sautee but ever so gently prepared. Add to this a large bowl of FRESH escarole salad with a 'spritz' of olive oil and white wine.
We 'gathered' ourselves and knew what was about to grace our table: A large bowl of the FRESHEST fruit, unbruised and ripe including a variety of pears, apples, bannans and huge oranges. But wait! A platter of thick sliced provolone cheese and a HUGE platter of HUGE Cristoli....simply the best, crunchy, flaky and non-oily. Coffee was delicious (for a change) and it was hot, too. Just as we were enjoying all the bounty before us, the Waiter served Lemon Fritters, maybe Marchi's signature dessert....sooooooooo good and smoothe and delicate.
Here, we had a price-fixed dinner at $36 per person. I suppose that the Glenlivet cocktails are priced per New York at $11 per drink and the Wine List was 'okay' with a bottle of Californiia Pinot Griggio at $28.
A three-hour dinner that was just superb...AND, we even found a parking space about four cars-away from the front entrance to this turn-of-the-century Brownstone.
Its FRESHNESS ! Life is 'beautiful'...
A note for those reading along...Clement is a veteran poster here (who's never mentioned this restaurant before), and we have no reason to suspect that his copious enthusiasm is anything less than genuine....just FWIW!
Crodtoli is something my Grandmother used to call "Farfale" or crispy and thin Canolli-type pastry which is fried and splashed with powder sugar and shaped into huge ribbons or, as Grangma made them, real large bow-ties; soooooo good. When I was a kid, Papa and others would have these with Espresso and Anisette, fruit and cheese. Hooray for 'childhood' ! Had something similar, but not as good as Marchi's, in Florence at a restaurant called Aqua Per Due...but thats another fantastic story.
And, thanks Jim !
re: Deven Black
Yeah Devin, our parents went there in the 50'c and grandparents in the 30's.
The food is terrific but the problem is that you can only go perhaps twice a year at best because of the unchanged menu; besides, the anticipation of waiting for 'another' year to feast on this sumptuous repast, makes the experience an even greater delight.