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Anyone been to Mia Dona?

h
haa Feb 20, 2008 12:52 PM

Going there tonight....anyone been? What do I need to get?

  1. d
    David W Apr 19, 2008 08:51 AM

    We were there last night. We had the arugula salad - well, it's salad...I've seldom had a salad that did much for me--this was fresh and nicely dressed.
    The fried rabbit--I thought it was a little greasy, and the little chips are kind of a challenge to eat, especially if you want to dip them into the sauce.
    The gnudi was probably the best thing we had...very well made and the flavors well balanced.
    The chestnut agnolotti was appreciated by my wife, but not me--I found the overall dish too sweet and a little confused in overall taste.

    My main complaint is the service...granted, we were there on a Friday night at prime time. But--we were given the menu and a moment later our server asked what we wanted to drink. I told her we would probably have wine, and she pointed out the wines by the glass on the last page...and then said...we do have a wine menu, too if you want a bottle. We didn't, but it seemed odd.
    Then, our first course came very rapidly-I started eating, and had finished the rabbit (what do you do with rabbit bones with that dish? I ended up putting them on my bread plate.) and was trying to finish up the tiny potato chips when our main course came...so the server just moved my 1st course over and plopped down the 2nd...
    Another odd point came when we were leaving-we had checked our bags, and when we came to the front they were just sort of sitting there in a closet like space by the door--we indicated we needed them, but then my wife just reached down and took them (I didn't tip her)--so be careful what you check...

    Overall, I'd agree with other posters who said the food is heavy-it is. The space was lively (and loud) and packed...but I won't be going back.
    I think this is a big miss for Psilakis--I loved Onera, I like Kefi and enjoyed my two visits to Anthos (though I think they also suffer from a "heavy" factor in many of the dishes.)

    1. c
      coltrane Apr 6, 2008 08:55 PM

      I THOUGHT THAT THE FOOD WAS GREAT AND WELL PRICED. NOT YOUR CLASSICAL NUDI BUT GOOD.

      1. b
        BW212 Apr 2, 2008 04:38 PM

        Friends of mine just ate there this past weekend. They liked it a lot but didn't mention any specific stand outs.

        1. l
          LES_Crawler Apr 2, 2008 09:57 AM

          Was in Mia Dona last night (Tuesday), and it was kind of fun when the waiter suddenly informed us that they were now a two star restaurant. I agree with the other posters that dinner was good, but not great. I do dig the Upper East Side circa 1988 room with its worn-out zebra carpet and beach house book shelves.

          The gnudi was the best thing I had that night. The octopus was good but - as pointed out by another poster - not grilled. Also, it was super-salty. Not inedible-salty, but it did dry out my entire mouth and throat and lips and esophagus while I ate it. I skipped the deserts since they didn't look very interesting, but would definitely go back. And the bill wasn't too bad. Service was nice and courteous although the were a bit aggressive about clearing the table and bringing out the entres as they were clearing the appetizer plates. No biggie, but that does drive some folks nuts.

          One word of caution, however: the burrata for two is terrible. Had the antipasto at A Voce recently and they have some burrata with it that was slightly warmed, creamy and really silky and amazing. But at Mia Dona they bring out a huge pincushion-looking wheel of burrata the size of a baby's head, ice cold, with red onions and stuff piled up on top of it. Instead of a beautiful, silky, soft cheese it's like cold fondue, all the taste is gone and you just wind up sawing through it. I love burrata but this was no fun at all (although the red onions are great with it).

          1. j
            jdream Mar 19, 2008 08:12 PM

            I ended up going to Mia Dona the other night. While it didn't excite me, it definitely wasn't a bad meal. We had a half order of the gnudi (clear winner for the night) with crispy speck and the arugula and chicory salad. For entrees we tried the fish (snapper?) with coucous and the rabbit with salt and vinegar fingerlings. Nothing too remarkable and nothing bad. No flavors really popped though, and certain dishes seemed heavy handed. The menu is pretty interesting, though every dish, particularly entrees seem to have one too many ingredients. I wouldn't run back there, but I wouldn't be disappointed to go back either.

            1 Reply
            1. re: jdream
              m
              millefeuille Mar 26, 2008 08:40 AM

              agree with Jdream's assessment. Certainly nothing bad, but very forgettable. Went last night. The rabbit was our biggest disappointment. We didn't discern any vinegar notes in the chips and the rabbit really evoked the shake n' bake chicken that I made in third grade (Randall Lane made the same comparison to Shake n bake in his Time Out NY review). The greasy batter flaked off the rabbit pieces in greasy shards and the remoulade was stuck in some sort of purgatory between a tzatziki and a sour cream dip.

              The calf's tongue tasted great but was an almost unappetizingly heavy mess to eat: shreds of braised tongue in a thick sauce studded with mushrooms all atop a grilled slice of bread and topped with a poached egg. The weather is starting to get too warm for this sort of unctuous meat assault.

              The best dish last night was an expertly grilled octopus tentacle that was paired with a refreshingly tart anchovy vinaigrette with olives and potatoes and feta. Delicious.
              The baked paccheri were not salvaged from their ordinariness by the addition of very smoky mozzarella. The smoked cheese actually brought disharmony to what could have been a grown-up's unpretentious take on baked ziti.

              Overall, if we lived in the neighborhood, or needed to replenish our reserves after some intensive Bloomindale's shopping around the corner, we might go to Mia Dona again.
              However, we don't ever shop at Bloomingdale's and we live downtown. Happy to have tried but there are too many places that offer a more satisfying experience (Kefi is actually one of them).

            2. a
              Avalondaughter Mar 18, 2008 11:41 AM

              I was there a few nights ago. I had the gnudi, which I loved. They tasted like ravioli transformed into pillows, and I loved the speck.

              I had the pork chop with egg for a main course. The pork was already cut for me and very tender. The egg was an interesting touch. (If you can have eggs with steak and eggs with bacon, why not eggs with a pork chop?) I felt that there could have been a little more flavor going on though.

              The chocolate hazelnut semifreddo was fantastic.

              1. j
                jdream Mar 17, 2008 09:32 AM

                Sound like a bit of a mixed bag... was wondering if anyone has tried it in the past couple weeks? Am thinking of going tonight.... Thanks!

                4 Replies
                1. re: jdream
                  b
                  Boswell Mar 17, 2008 10:02 AM

                  I went back a week or so ago and ate at the bar. I think I might have a new favorite restaurant. I had the crispy rabbit with fingerling chips, which was kind of like a rabbit version of fish and chips, with a cucumber-dill remoulade in place of tartar sauce. Very tasty (although the chips were a bit too salty), and I held onto that remoulade to dip my bread into. Then bigoli pasta with sausage and broccoli rabe, also very good. Very friendly service both times I've been here. I ordered a wine by the glass that the bartender didn't think too highly of, and he offered me a taste of it. I agreed and ordered something else. A nice touch that doesn't happen often enough.

                  1. re: Boswell
                    s
                    Snaps Mar 17, 2008 11:53 AM

                    Did you find the food to be exceptionally heavy like the others? I am thinking of Mia Dona for a special occasion - is it too casual for a celebration? Thanks!

                    1. re: Snaps
                      b
                      Boswell Mar 17, 2008 12:03 PM

                      Not really...and if you have a light appetite, you can make a meal of an appetizer and half order of pasta, as I did at the bar. For an informal celebration it would be fine I think. Tables are close together and hard surfaces make it a bit noisy when full.

                  2. re: jdream
                    erica Mar 17, 2008 12:10 PM

                    Ii had a good dinner two weeks ago. Started was the squid which was not grilled, as the waiter had described, but was good anyway: Pieces of the squid body in a caponata-like preparation. I followed with the ricotta gnudi with speck...excellent. Casual and friendly. Pretty crowded bar scene up front.

                  3. erica Feb 28, 2008 12:19 PM

                    Would anyone here happen to know if they have their liquor license yet?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: erica
                      l
                      Lucia Feb 28, 2008 12:58 PM

                      They do.

                    2. l
                      Lucia Feb 25, 2008 05:23 PM

                      I went tonight. Great space and great service, but the food was a mixed bag. My friend and I shared the gnudi as an appetizer, which were great. The desserts were also great--an ice cream sandwich on a brioche was the standout, but the napoleon was also very good. The mains, on the other hand, were somewhat disappointing. Her braised short ribs were somewhat overcooked, and I didn't care for the polenta preparation. I had the orata, which was better but somewhat bland and uninspired, and the accompanying mushrooms were stewed to the point where the flavor had been drained out of them.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Lucia
                        b
                        Boswell Feb 26, 2008 05:30 AM

                        I went last week and overall was very pleased. Standouts were the baccala and ricotta appetizer (a holdover from Dona, and as good as ever), and the gnudi were fantastic. Loved the crisp chips of speck and the mushrooms. We were brought a main course serving when we were expecting the smaller app. portion, but no problem, we ate it all. I too was a bit disappointed by the orata. It was described as coming with a "ragu," which made me expect a sauce, but it was more of a plain grilled fish filet with some braised mushrooms. My friend's mixed grill looked like a better choice...she said it was some of the best meat she'd ever eaten.

                      2. m
                        marye Feb 21, 2008 11:20 AM

                        Went last week, the octopus was delish- overall the meal was very tasty but super heavy- the roast chicken came with meatballs and was covered in cheese

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: marye
                          g
                          G3B Feb 21, 2008 11:52 AM

                          did you have any of the pastas? how were they?

                          1. re: G3B
                            m
                            marye Feb 26, 2008 07:06 AM

                            my mother in law did, tasty but still on the heavy side- once again I thought the dinner was very good, but just too heavy- which is odd since I cook with butter freely and have yet to meet a cream sauce I did not like

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