I discovered Perdinci Meats at a food show in the Javitz center. I contacted their representative because I was really blown away by the quality of their meats, especially the dried, cured pork loin, or lonza. They sent me a variety pack of sample meats, including salami, guanciale (pork cheek), pork belly, that delicious lonza, and some softer spreadables like nduja and finocchiola.
These babies were tucked away in my fridge for quite a while, and I was happy to see that they held up just fine and didn’t spoil with proper storage.
The lonza is still my favorite, but all of the other products are excellent. I highly recommend this stuff.
This legendary Italian deli in New Orleans is world famous for creating the muffuletta sandwich.
Muffuletta is technically a massive sesame seeded bread, but the name has been coopted here to describe this particular sandwich. When I first saw them back in 2009, I thought they were giant burgers.
So what exactly is in the sandwich? It’s essentially an Italian hero (high quality Italian meats and cheeses) on that circular shaped muffuletta bread, but with one special ringer: the magical olive and giardiniera salad (pickled cauliflower, hot peppers and carrots).
There are lots of joints serving this sandwich all over New Orleans, and even now in NYC.
But the one and only, the original, is Central Grocery. It’s either $10.95 (half) or $20.95 (whole). Below is a half on top, and a whole in my hand.
If you can’t find a place serving muffuletta near you, and if you can’t hop on a jet to NOLA, I highly suggest making one at home. Olive salads and giardiniera salads are usually available in jars at gourmet grocery stores. If you can’t find the bread, just slap those salads on top of a regular Italian hero and you’ll pretty much have it sorted out.
923 Decatur St
New Orleans, LA 70116
My wife and I popped in here before seeing “Darkest Hour” at Lincoln Plaza Cinemas (great flick, and too bad that the theater is closing down in a month due to high rent). The place was jam-packed at 5:45pm, but luckily my wife had a reservation locked in.
Our movie was at 6:35, so we wanted to eat quick. We ordered our drinks and pastas at the same time, and they came out within three minutes.
I had the spaghetti carbonara, which was made the right way with no cream and a runny egg.
Enjoy the yolk porn:
It was made with guanciale (pork jowl) bacon, which added nice salt content to the dish without actually using salt.
My wife had the fettuccine pesto, which had a really nice, fresh flavor to it. Delicious, though a bit garlicky.
Everything was great, but the prices were a bit steep. All in, with tax and tip, for just two drinks and two pasta dishes, we were at $95 and change. That’s pretty steep! The interesting tidbit: This was one of the fastest meals we ever had in NYC. We were in and out within 20 minutes, like a horny teenager at a whore house.
Mannino’s is a local Italian joint near my parents’ house on Long Island. It’s gotten a lot of buzz in the last few years, and the food is pretty great. I’ve been there several times, but this time I decided to document the meal.
We started with octopus salad:
Stuffed and fried zucchini blossoms:
And an order of fried calamari:
The fried calamari was a bit on the small side in terms of portion size, but if you’re taking it down all by yourself, then it’s probably just the right amount. The squid was fried to a nice crisp, but still tender on the inside.
The zucchini blossoms were stuffed with ricotta and were a little more dense than I expected, but still tasty nonetheless. I wished there was four in the order, since we had a table of four. We made it work, however.
The octopus salad was good. The squid was tender, and the acid from the citrus cut nicely across the dish.
For my entree, I had pork parmesan. I’ve been dying to dig into some of the incredible looking bone-in chicken parm dishes I’ve been seeing lately in NYC, so this pork version was the perfect way to get my fix.
The meat was incredibly tender, pounded flat and fried up to a crisp. Good cheese coverage and melt, and the sauce was delicious. Great dish.
My wife had the beef braciola. This is beef that’s pounded flat and rolled up with cheeses, pine nuts, cured meats and raisins. Really nicely executed.
Get over to Mannino’s if you live in the area and haven’t been there yet. And keep an eye out for their tomahawk steak for two; they have it on special some nights.
1575 New York 27A (Montauk Highway)
Oakdale, NY 11769
My wife and I stopped in this nice Italian joint for a quick meal. We kept it light here, and shared a meat and cheese board, along with a pasta dish.
Finocchiona, mortadella, cooked prosciutto, taleggio and another kind of cheese that I currently can’t remember. All were great, though I expected the finocchiona to be more like a roasted pork roll as opposed to a salami. Five items for $25.
The pasta was awesome. It was pricey at $36, but there was enough to share. Squid ink linguini with Maryland lump crab.
This reminded me of Christmas Eve dinner with my family. Mom always made bucatini pasta with blue claw crabs that we caught ourselves at the docks along the Great South Bay. Ours was usually spicy as fuck though. This one did have a slight kick with some jalapeños, so cheers to that. I’d eat this dish every day if I could.
The reason I also have this marked off as a product review is because you can buy their uncooked pasta to go from a counter up front. My wife brought home some squid ink pappardelle once and it was incredible. Really nicely made, not too fishy, and great texture when cooked to al dente. She made it with prawns in a lobster sauce.
GIOVANNI RANA PASTIFICIO & CUCINA
75 9th Ave
New York, NY 10011
I stopped in this joint with some friends for a quick bite to eat. I was excited to see lupini beans on the bar menu. For $5 I thought we were going to get a buttload of them, but we only got a few dozen at most.
We tried another bar snack, olives. These were great, but pricey:
Calamarata pasta. This was nice, but not the biggest portion.
Salmon with escarole. I love escarole. This was a nice dish. At $24 it felt a little small, but I think the portion is definitely right for those who are looking to watch their calories.
They have some strange rules at this place, like no birthday singing unless someone is under 10 or over 90. Also this really strange rule about fresh pork and hot weather?
Maybe it has something to do with the meat sweats.
So what makes this burger so good? Perhaps it’s the iberico jam, the black garlic sauce, or the aged cheddar cheese sauce. Maybe it’s the perfectly cooked patty, or the roasted grape tomatoes on top. Whatever it is, it’s the perfect union of flavors. And, I mean, come on… look at this fucking thing.
Everything about it just works.
My readers know me, though: I always want a crunch element, and that’s the only thing that was missing in my eyes. But this is nearly perfect, and definitely has a spot on my top five list for restaurant burgers.
Interesting quirk: the burger comes with roasted Brussels sprouts rather than French fries. I didn’t see any fries on the menu, but they’re not very popular in Italian cuisine anyway. Perhaps some fried polenta would satisfy the starch pairing/craving for this burger though. In any case, this burger kicks a whole lot of ass.
But the burger isn’t the only thing that kicks ass at Suprema. Check out this menu and see what items cause your undies to bulge.
We tried a bunch of shit when we went, in order to help promote for the restaurant. Cheers to that.
Realistically though, ever since Gotham Burger Social Club posted their review, the restaurant has seen a big influx of customers. They’re doing just great without my pictures. But here we go…
This had a great green olive tapenade and more of those delicious roasted grape tomatoes. The octo itself was super tender, crispy, meaty. On the bottom is a pair of black crispy fried polenta squares. Perhaps they’re colored with squid or octo ink, or maybe even the black garlic that we saw in the burger. Either way – tasty.
Crab & Uni Fettuccine
This was my least favorite of the night. But since it was still a good dish, that’s not a knock in the slightest. For my taste, it was a bit fishy (likely from the warm uni) and lacked a bit of salt. The crab was excellent, however, and the pasta was perfectly cooked.
Braised pork, bechamel sauce and ricotta are layered into this shit, and everything is baked into individual cast iron dish-pans. The very bottom was a bit watery and didn’t “set” properly, but that’s nothing a few minutes of waiting will cure before diving in. We savaged the fuck out of this very quickly. Excellent dish.
These are pretty great, and I’m a harsh critic when it comes to meatballs. It’s tough to beat mom’s. Firm, but not hard. Tender, but not mushy. Rich with flavor and properly cooked. A little bit of crusty sesame Italian bread to sop up the delicious sauce here, and you Paisans out there are all set.
Most people like me would cringe at the idea of ordering chicken at a restaurant when there is clearly a pork or beef option available, as well as shitloads of salumi. But I, and those like me, would be missing out at Suprema if we ignored the chicken. This shit was fantastic. It’s brined for many hours, so the flavor penetrates deep to the bone. Not only is the flavor good, but the meat is juicy and tender – like Kim Kardashian’s ass cheeks, only less fatty. The skin is rubbed with a spice mix and roasted to a delicious crisp. Even the tit meat is on point, and not even one bite was dry. This fucking dish is mint.
This joint reminds me a lot of the salumeria spots in Italy that I loved so much. I’m sure I will be here a lot in the weeks to come, taking advantage of the delicious Summer cocktails they mix up, and enjoying the open air but shaded tables along 7th avenue in the West Village.
In summary, get the fuck over to this place as quickly as you can. Go. Don’t be an asshole.
305 Bleecker St
New York, NY 10014
My wife and I were recently invited into Bella Luna, and upper west side Italian joint, for a complimentary meal in exchange for an honest review of the food. The menu looked pretty great, so I was excited to get in here.
The restaurant was jumping on a Thursday night. I don’t think there was an empty table in the joint. It makes sense, given the attractively priced pasta dishes ($12 for their long list of classics) set in a beautiful dining room.
We started with an order of mussels. These babies are cooked in a garlic, white wine and tomato sauce.
The sauce was awesome. In fact, we kept asking for extra bread to soak up the goodness. I was happy there was a spoon on the table, because I was eating the sauce like soup.
Next up was one of their special pasta dishes: lamb pappardelle.
Pappardelle is one of my favorite styles of pasta: long, wide ribbons. This stuff was fresh made, and the lamb ragu was great. The meat sauce also contained some diced carrots, onions and peppers. It reminded me of the Sunday meat sauces (aka “gravy,” in some circles) that my grandmother used to make when my family would visit each week. It was boldly flavored, yet not too heavy where you feel bloated after. This was definitely my favorite dish of the night.
Then we shared a pizza.
We ordered the “Bella Luna” pizza, which is topped with wild mushrooms, truffle oil, onions and fontina cheese.
As you can see, we added some prosciutto and olives to the party.
This was a really great pizza! The dough was puffy and light, but still had a good crunch with an airy, doughy bite. They’re working some magic back there in the brick oven!
Dessert was impressive, as they were offering slices of a special praline ice cream cake from the bake shop that used to be located next store (Grossinger’s; a neighborhood classic for many decades).
This was so rich and decadent. Such awesome flavors going on, and I even thought I tasted some halva in the mix, which I love. I highly recommend a slice of this if they have any left when you go.
My wife’s choice was tiramisu, her favorite, but with a scoop of their toasted pistachio gelato on top.
A genius idea, if I may say so. The tiramisu was soft, and nicely coffee flavored. The lady fingers weren’t soaked in too much booze, and it was overall very creamy and tasty.
I definitely recommend this place. It’s a great neighborhood joint with extremely reasonable prices, set up with gorgeous exposed brick and rustic wood decor.
My wife and I grabbed a Groupon for this place that scored us a bottle of wine, a shared app, two entrees and two desserts.
When we stepped into this joint it felt like we had stepped into a wine bar meat shop in Rome. The warm wood decor was inviting and cozy, and starting our meal with some red wine and salumi just brought us right back to our Italy vacation.
There were no offensive limits to what we could choose from the wine and app selections, by the way. And the meats were high quality and consisted of salami, prosciutto, mortadella and brasaeola. This was my favorite item of the night.
Our entrees were both good, but my wife’s lamb shank was the winner between the two. We were limited in our selection to items that were listed for $24 or less.
Interesting though – instead of a bed of orzo, as is traditional, this featured as bed of roughly mashed potatoes. They were tasty.
I had a pork chop. It was pretty big at 16oz, T-bone style.
It was nicely cooked and tender.
For dessert we did a chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream, and panna cotta. The panna cotta was great. Super smooth, light and flavorful.
Overall this is a good deal and I recommend picking up the Groupon if they’re still offering it.