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Manhattan Italian

Excellent new Italian in the East Village

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Restaurants & Bars

Excellent new Italian in the East Village

Eddie Bennet | Oct 21, 2003 04:10 PM

Cantinella recently opened at 23 Avenue A. According to NY Magazine, it was opened by the former beverage manager and chef at Scalinatella on the upper east side. I have eaten there twice in the past three weeks and both times have been very impressed with both the food and the service. The staff is extremely friendly without being overbearing and is very accomidating. Similar to to Salinatella, there is a long list of specials in addition to the menu and the kitchen will literaly make you whatever you want limited only by what is in the kitchen. Dishes I have tried there have been a very good grilled veal chop, thick, cooked medium rare until juicy and pink and topped with sauteed portabello mushrooms, a mix of mussles and manila clams (no bigger than your thumb) served in a very flavorful tomato, garlic and white wine broth, which was delicious when sopped up with bread, very good baby octopus which were grilled, so that they were crispy yet tender inside, flavored with toasted garlic and olive oil and surrounding a chopped salad of tomatos, red onion and black olives, baby artichokes, pan fried in olive oil until crisp around the edges, a very well made homemade papardelle, mixed with porcini mushrooms and a touch of truffle oil, it had a great, deep mushroom flavor, and an excellent dish of chicken and sliced sausage that was served in a sauce of reduced red wine vinegar and stock, the sauce was delicious, with a touch of acidity, the menu said it was served with both dark and white meat, I asked for it with the just the dark and it was very, very tender. There were also three or four fish dishes offered when I was there. Both times for desert I had a plate of mixed berries (rasberries, blackberries, strawberries and blueberries) and a bowl of freshly made zabaglione. The zabaglione was spectacular, made fresh, it arrived at the table warm and frothy. The wine list ranges from what I believe was a low of $25 up to $95.

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