Da Ciro Brief Review (Lex and 34th St)
Went tonight for a relaxed but tasty dinner. Pretty good but for the price, not great value. Very pricy for the area but knew that ahead of time (I was surprised to be treated but peeked a bit-about $100 before tip for split Fried Calamari, two pastas. 3 drinks, 2 expressos). Very noisy at times but never felt rushed so that was great. We lingered for 3.5 hours over the above--it was not crowded on a Tues night. Calamari was tender with light breading with spicy sauce. Good but not great. My pasta special of fettucini, shrimp, asparagus and tomato was very good (but not great). My friend's pasta (think it was rigatoni with eggplant?) seemed fine (didn't taste) but not great either.
In Murray Hill (Hell), good choice for adult dining--40+ versus some of the youngish crowds of the area.
Will try again but not running--rather go to Notaro (2nd and 34th) for less pricy fare. Aim to try Trio around the corner next. This is also pricy but worth a revisit based on a long ago very postive experience.
We live in Murray Hill and go to Da Ciro often. We like the friendly service and while the downstairs can be rather loud, the upstairs especially toward the front near the windows is more tranquil.
My particular favorite is the polletto (spelling?)--roasted baby chicken w/ roasted potatoes and vegetables. It's crackly, moist and really good.
We lived in the area until recently (just moved to Jackson Heights -- love it!), and our favorite quiet, people in their 30s+, reasonably priced restaurant was Dolcino, on 2nd avenue b/w 28th and 29th. The food here is generally delicious and the staff could not be more gracious. In particular, I love their paparadelle with veal ragout, the rigatoni w/ sausage, the whole branzino (which is a special they usually have), and last, but certainly not least, their rib eye.
If you order the rib eye, ask for it with mushrooms and onions -- it's one of my favorite steaks i've ever had, anywhere. Occassionally it's a bit too fatty, but the flavor is always wonderful. Business at this place has been slowly but steadily picking up over the years -- it's one of the few places we miss in the old neighborhood (along with La Petite Auberge).
We've never tried Da Ciro, and all your "good not great" comments do not provide much impetus, especially given the exhorbitant cost. I've never been to Notaro either. Someone on this board has had very positive things to say about La Giara, on 3rd, b/t 33rd & 34th. Same block as Ethos, our favorite Greek spot. I've never even noticed La Giara was there, but it sounds as though it might be worth a try.
Last year, we finally got around to trying Campanile, on 29th, b/t Park Av. S. & Madison, and were truly surprised at how excellent the food was. Traditional menu. Nice ambiance.
We haven't been to Trio is quite a long time. Love the strukli! They used to have a main course of Croatian meats and accompaniments. Delicious and enough for two to share, but I don't see it on the menu anymore. :-( I've had some very good fish dishes there. I'd be interested in knowing how good it is these days, so when you go, I hope you'll report back.
I agree with your assessment. I found the pasta to be excellent (especially if you let it cool down considerably) though fell off my chair when I saw the bill. For two special pastas, and a special order of burrata (with hot peppers and tomatoes - very good burrata) came to $75. Yowza.
Fortunately it was very good. But wow. I'd consider a return visit, but there are many other options (Sfoglia, Al di La, etc.) that I'd like to try first.