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Manhattan

L'Impero--as good as everyone says

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L'Impero--as good as everyone says

yalechk | Jul 8, 2005 03:29 PM

Had a business lunch there today, and was extremely impressed. The atmosphere was very calm and tranquil--the decorating is in soft blue-greens and chocolate browns, with luxurious textured upholstery and beautiful tabletop presentation. The four course prix fixe is an unbelieveable deal--four courses, anything you want, for $42. On Chowhound recommendations, I had the fricasee of mushrooms in a truffle reduction over polenta--really really amazing. The truffle reduction was rich, but light at the same time, and the polenta was sweet and creamy, with a light texture. The Ciabatta bread was very airy and delicate in taste, with an amazing dark, chewy crust. The olive oil had a pronounced citrus flavor that was perfect for a summer meal. Again, on a Chowhound recommendation, I had the duck and fois gras agnoletti--beautiful triangular pasta, drizzled in a rich aged balsalmic vinegar, and the filling was much lighter than you might expect from such ingredients--sort of moussey and sort of chunky, from the duck, with a sweet, earthy flavor. The Branzino was also excellent, with a crisp skin that peeled right off, and a delicate texture and flavor. It had a spring pea foam that was also delicous. Finally, we split the olive oil cake and the giandula and banana tart. the olive oil cake was good, but the tart was blow your mind away good. A buttery, dense, flaky crust on the bottom, with a fudgy hazelnut chocolate center, and spiraled around and on top were sauteed bananas, which hide the chocolate and make it look like a banana cake. on top of that is a shell of carmelized sugar, like a creme brulee. it was served with a scoop of pecan gelato, also delicious and creamy. the espresso was a great consistency, not too syrupy, with nice crema and a caramely taste. I had a rose brut champagne from the wine by the glass list--a beautiful coppery color, very dry, and very refreshing. soft bubbles. yum yum yum. i would go back there in a heart beat!

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