Over the past couple of months I have become quite the food blogger. I or (CT) bring a camera to every restaurant we go to. Since Yvo has been busy with school, I am stepping up and will now have a weekly column, Tuesdays with TT. Bon Appetit!
Maialino is the newest restaurant in the Danny Meyer empire. It opened in the fall in the Gramercy Park Hotel. CT & I are both big fans of Danny’s work, so we knew we wanted to go ASAP. Unfortunately, due to so many positive reviews, it is one of the hardest reservations to get in town. Fellow blogger, Hungry, went before us and told us that we should plan on going at least a month in advance in order to get a reservation. Her writeup here, just increased our anticipation that much more.
After being warmly greeted at reception, we were led through the restaurant to our table. Danny did a great job with the space in creating a rustic farm-like feeling.
First up was a bread basket.
A nice selection of sourdough, foccacia, and breadsticks. CT thought the foccacia was too salty, but with some olive oil, I thought it was perfect.
As expected in a Danny Meyer establishment, our waitress was especially friendly and provided great service. She explained the menu and the nightly specials. We were here for one reason and one reason only, the Maialino Al Forno. We were a little worried when we didn’t see it on the menu, but our waitress told us about it as the nightly special. As it serves 2-4 people, CT & I decided to share an appetizer.
We ordered a bottle of red wine, sorry no picture. The sommelier came over to our table and asked if it would be ok to serve the 2006 vintage instead of the 2007 we ordered. It was no problem for me as it turned out to be a wonderful wine and still under $30.
We went the “light” route with another special, the Insalata di Animelle.
It is lightly fried sweetbreads with salad. Neither of us have actually had sweetbreads before, but this seemed like the right place to try it. Since we told the waitress we were splitting the salad, it was a nice touch when they served it on individual plates.
This was a great way to start the meal. The sweetbreads were expertly fried. Light and crisp, not greasy at all. They were a great introduction to eating the thymus gland. The salad was a great complement with a nice light vinaigrette, just the right amount of acid.
After our plates were cleared, we were given new cutlery for the main course, including a nice big steak knife. I thought it was a nice touch that the knife had the fancy Maialino logo carved into it.
After reviewing the menu with us, the waitress didn’t even have to give us more time to decide. We wanted the Maialino to share. There is no such thing as being too eager for this, it is that good.
Before serving, the Maialino is presented uncut on a silver platter. The server was a good sport with holding it, since we took a little while to get a good picture. Here is a BIG picture to get in all that porky goodness.
The meat is brought back into the kitchen to cut up and serve with the potatoes roasted under the meat. It looks small, but roast pork fills you up quickly.
Here is the pork that is all ready to consume.
On the left you can see a couple ribs and on the right is near the leg.
First bite: AMAZING. The layers of super crisp pork skin with succulent pork and fat underneath was perfect. It is probably the best pork dish I have ever had. The potatoes were great too. How could they not be since they were roasted with the drippings from the meat. It is a lot of meat for two people, but I don’t see how 4 people could share it. Everyone I know would be very hesitant to have to share this. CT & I managed to finish all of the meat, but left some of the potatoes, which is ok in my book. We were both beyond full, but it was so worth it. We didn’t even bother with the dessert menu.
All in all a great meal. Service, Food, Prices were all very good. I have heard good things about other dishes including some of the pastas, but I don’t think I could go back and not order the Maialino.