Da Flora -- longish
I dined at Da Flora last night, and have to offer up my thanks to this board for everyone's positive feedback on this place.
I was looking up the address on citysearch, and noticed several less than glowing reviews, mostly centering around the rude service. Da Flora is definitely not a place for tourists. Flora seemed a bit gruff at the beginning when we entered, but once you realize how much she's doing to keep the place running, I have to say I found her style very admirable.
She runs her place the way she wants to, and I like that. I could see how customers not willing to bend from the "customer is always right" philosophy would be put off, but I am always happy to take advice from servers/owners/chefs. When they know their stuff the way she does, you can't go wrong for listening.
I had an arugula, endive and pear salad to start -- yum. She used a honey almond dressing which balanced the bitterness of the arugula very well. Also got to try the gnocchi -- my brother ordered them as his started, but also got another order for the table, which was smart because then he didn't have to share!
I had a fresh pappardelle with roasted oyster mushrooms and fava beans for entree -- so good, and since I'm too lazy to shuck and shell favas at home, it was really nice to have them. Small and tender --- mmmmm. I also had a taste of the Sephardic chicken and polenta, both of which were very good. Polenta was creamy with a bit of crunch on top. My dad and brother had the milk braised pork, which must have been pretty darn good, because *none* of it came my way.
They offered 2 desserts last night, so we got an order of each, which was perfect for 6 people. One was an "Italian Oreo" -- marscapone sandwiched between 2 chocolate shortbread cookies. Dad was slow on the uptake of eating his, and I very nearly snatched it off the plate. There was also a warm chocolate cake with almonds that was very good as well -- for as chocolately as it was, it wasn't overwhelming.
We had 2 different red wines, both recommendations from Flora, and I would never order wine off the menu w/out consulting her -- she knows her stock, and what it will do with her food. Unfortunately, I didn't pay attention to what we got -- I think one was a Barrolo, but I'm not very familiar with Italian wine.
A good place to chow -- not cheap, but I think it hits on everything that defines a good chow place.