I feel like L’Artusi is one of those restaurants that for some reason isn’t a part of the mainstream “essential” New York City restaurants. It doesn’t seem like everyone knows about it, but those who do have discovered it’s one of the best restaurants in the city. The restaurant is inconspicuously located on West 10; it’s one of those restaurants you could walk right by and never know it was there. But once you enter, it’s a fairly large and vibrant spot you can’t believe you missed. The downstairs is loud with a cheese bar and chef’s counter overlooking the open kitchen. Upstairs is quieter, but definitely doesn’t lack personality. It’s really just a matter of what kind of dining experience you’re looking for for the night. Regardless, you’re going to get an incredible meal that’s well-paced with an all-encompassing Italian wine list divided by region. So if this is a restaurant that hasn’t been on your radar, definitely add it now.
Beef Carpaccio: Beef carpaccio with rye crisps, horseradish and crema – it was some of the best beef carpaccio I’ve had. Cut thin and fresh, it had a nice texture and flavor. I thought the rye crisps added a great textural crunch, especially since carpaccio just sort of melts in your mouth.
Cheese: I’m not entirely sure which cheese I ordered; I let the waitress recommend an option. I don’t necessarily know enough about cheeses to know what’s good to order. As far as I’m concerned, cheese is cheese (though yes they vary in texture and flavor) and it’s all good. What I really liked here though, were the crackers and crunchies that came with this. They were buttery and salty and addicting, and I loved every bite.
Roasted Mushrooms: This is a dish of roasted mushrooms with pancetta, a fried egg, and ricotta salata. This was smoky and indulgent and tasted nothing like I anticipated; it didn’t taste like I was eating mushrooms. It definitely was a really great and unique dish.
Mezzaluna: These were stuffed half moons filled with sweet corn in an Aleppo (pepper) sauce with parmesan. I felt like this dish was perfect for fall. The sweet corn contrasting with the bite from the light, peppered sauce was really nice. It had a lot of warmth to it.
Orecchiette: This was orecchiette with sausage, salumi and pecorino. I think it is worth noting that they have a great heavy hand with the cheese distribution in their dishes. So, perfectly cooked pasta with amazing sausage and cheese – it’s a good choice.
Hangar Steak: Medium rare hangar steak with crispy potatoes and salsa bianco – boy was this awesome. The steak was perfect and the potatoes were maybe the best I’ve ever had, crispy with so much flavor. They don’t even need the salsa bianco, which is a sophisticated and tasty sour cream/onion dip. I feel like even if you come here to get some pasta, it’s worth ordering a side of these potatoes. I wasn’t necessarily expecting to be blown away by the steak dish, but it was one of my favorites of the night.
Hazelnut Chocolate Torta: A hazelnut chocolate torta with praline crunch and a side scoop of salted caramel gelato. It was as delicious as it sounds – definitely a dessert worth saving room for.
Olive Oil Cake: Olive oil cake with raisin marmellata, vin santo, and crème fraiche mousse. The olive cake has a nice airy, lightness to it. It’s perfect if you don’t like super rich and sweet desserts.
L’Artusi: 228 W 10th St. New York, NY ($$$)