Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Bits and Morsels: Saturday night at Primola

Warm chocolate cake at Primola.

Saturday night I went to Primola,
located at 1226 Second Avenue. I’ve been there before as it is a decidedly popular neighborhood restaurant. The simple reason: The food is excellent, the service is attentive, and the ambience is that of a perfect New York restaurant with just the right amount of buzz.

Primola feels very much under the radar, yet it is usually packed with people in the know and can be quite the 'cool' scene. Guests who have dined at Primola include Maria Bartiromo, Tiki Barber, Donny Deutsch and Eli Manning to name a few.

After dinner drinks
Another feature that I especially like about Primola is that it’s easy to stay on track and eat smart as the kitchen puts out a very clean menu of items (not to be confused with the clean-food diet, as something beyond organic). What I mean is that the food is just a little bit lighter than your typical Italian eatery. It doesn't hurt that each table is treated to a plate of crudités instead of the usual bread and butter (which they have; just ask).

A wise beginning to the meal: a tricolor or chopped salad. Just in case you plan on gorging yourself with a lotta pasta, you might just eat less of it (I said might). Then you can choose from any number of homemade pasta dishes such as spaghetti with clams and spinach ravioli or oh-so osso bucco and a crisp thin veal milanese.

The special on Saturday was a tuna steak in a light tomato sauce with scallions. I was told by my neighbor that it was cooked perfectly and that it was "actually a rather light dish." And with a side of garlicky spinach, it really hit the spot. For dessert (which is a must at Primola), plan on ordering either the warm chocolate cake or the fruit tart. Both go well with a cappuccino (and yes, espresso too, for all you sticklers out there).

1226 2nd Avenue
Primola Owner Giuliano Zuliani stands guard.
Crudite and antipasti. Endive salad.
Chopped salad. Grilled vegetable antipasti.
Veal milanese. Side of spinach.
Pasta with clams. Tuna with spinach and balsamic vinegar.
Homemade spinach ravioli. Tomato bruschetta.
Osso bucco. Tuna in a light tomato sauce with scallions.
Biscotti and cookies to have with coffee. Fresh mixed berries.
Fruit tart. A cappuccino.
Nestle Toll House Cookie Dough has been recalled after the dough was linked to a few cases of ecoli. The ecoli virus is killed through the baking process (although cross contamination is an issue), so those stricken with the icky bacteria most likely contracted it from eating the dough raw. [The New York Times]
Here is a wonderful reason to eat at Momofuku Noodle Bar. They are now going to donate all of the pork and beef bones that they use for cooking to animal shelters for dogs. They go through a lot of ramen so this will make plenty of dogs very happy. More restaurants should follow their example. [Diner’s Journal]

Here is a solid roundup of restaurants to choose from for a nice lunch near Bloomingdales, all for under $30. The options include Le Cirque, Rouge Tomate, Vong and Felidia. Many of the restaurants on the list offer dining deals that are worth trying out. Lunch is a great way to experience a restaurant's touch and with these deals, you can't go wrong. [Bloomberg]

Get ready for July because it is National Ice Cream month. Here is a primer on all things ice cream including its history, flavor combinations, and the best way to store everyone's favorite frozen treat. Can’t wait for July so I can finally switch from Tasti D Lite to the real deal. [Sun Times]

Until we eat again,
Jordana Z.

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