ISO Traditional Sicilian Restaurant
- MellieGal Dec 29, 2008 05:02 PM
I am in search of a fabulous Sicilian restaurant specializing in traditional Sicilian cuisine. I am also in need of suggestions on traditional dishes and desserts, particulary those which highlight Arab influence.
I am sure that a great many Sicilian dishes bear some Arab influence, but the two that come to mind where the influence is most clear would probably be couscous with fish stew (couscous alla trapanese) among savory plates and cassata among the desserts.
Other typical Sicilian dishes that come to mind are pasta con sarde (pasta with sardines), pasta alla norma (pasta with tomatoes, fried eggplant and salty ricotta cheese), panelle (chickpea fritters), Sicilian rice balls (arancini), caponata (a cooked vegetable/eggplant salad) and cannoli as a dessert.
I am not aware of any restaurant that serves Sicilian-style couscous. But very good Sicilian food and wines can be had at Cacio e Vino in the East Village. In Brooklyn there is also Ferdinando's Foccaceria in Red Hook/Carroll Gardens Brooklyn. They make a respectable version of the hard to find pannelle.
Cacio e Vino makes the best rendition of rigatoni Norma that I have had outside of Sicily and and an excellent caponata. I have tried most of the other items on the menu, the majority of which have been disappointments. The lone other stand-out so far is schiacciate (flatbread) cotto.
The other items I tried -- the arancine, eggplant involintini, timballo, grilled octopus, gnocci w/ cod, pasta with caulliflower, pasta con le sarde -- have been of variable quality, some good, some downright awful. However, I can tell you that from my perspective, none of them reached the heights of either the rigatoni Norma or the caponata. And I really want to love this place ...
Thanks to you all. It looks like I will try Ferdinando's Foccaceria first and let you know when I do.