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Apr 4, 2008 06:32 AM

My first al di la experience

I wanted to post a seriously redundant but essential thread on my first trip to al di la. I've been living in the 'hood for a few years now and for the life of me can't figure out why it took me this long to visit al di la.

We arrive at 6 sharp and sat at a table for two. Menu and wine list were reasonably priced for the food we were about to enjoy. Ordered the 3 plate tapas to start. Cuttlefish was a little rubbery for my liking but the flavor was good. The salt cod fritter was like an upscale fishstick. Perfect balance of batter and fish and nicely fried. The last was the chick-pea and octopus which was out of this world. If I had my eyes closed, I would have thought it was a red meat.

Primis were the beet ravioli and squid ink risotto. Both were superb. I am generally not a fan of beets (I think they taste like dirt) but these were beautifully sweet. Mixed with the acidity of the sauce and the salt of the hard cheese (pecorino I think), the dish sang. The risotto was equally impressive and I ate every single bite.

We split the braised rabbit with black olives and polenta for a secondi. What can I say? A phenominal dish. Rustic and balanced. The mix of the perfectly cooked rabbit with the creamy polenta reminded me a bit of the scrapple I enjoyed so much as a kid, the mix of grainy and smoky/meaty. Our favorite of the evening.

Finished with a gelato sampler of black pepper (more subtle than I expected), caramel orange (my fav) and honey (wife's fav).

Service was polite and prompt. Our wine and water glasses were never empty and I left with that feeling of serenity you can only get from an excellent meal. As Arnold said, I'll Be Back!

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  1. Arnold eats at Al di La? Cool. I wonder if he knows Jennifer Connelly.

    1. I always recomend the squid ink risotto to first timers. I think its one of their best dishes, along with the hangar steak and veal ragu (over any and all pastas). What a great place. I'm hungry just reading this.

      2 Replies
      1. re: NYJewboy

        the ragu is actually a combination of beef, veal and pork. I second it as one of their best dishes.There is a youtube video of Anna actually making the dish (

        Check out my review of Al Di La here:

        1. re: NYJewboy

          Squid ink risotto is a perfect dish. Fish Tales on Court Street sells small containers of squid ink, I'll often pick some up and make the dish myself.

        2. Friend and I were at al di la at same time last night and also ordered the gelato. The honey version was just divine.

          1. The baccala mantecato, grilled octopus with chickpeas and egg with anchovies tapas were amazing. Ditto for the tagliatella al pork shoulder ragu. The risotto nero con seppie transported me to Venice. The ricotta fritters with chocolate and whippped cream were decadent.