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Maialino Review

michelleats | Oct 18, 201110:35 PM

Please find photographs of the food here:

.... We started with one of the finest bar snacks I think the city has to offer: grilled chicken heart on rosemary skewers. These were both simple and amazing. Slices of heart were beautifully seasoned with just a hint of heat and cooked very rare -- their perfect freshness stood up to this kind of preparation -- resulting in morsels that were both very tender and chewy in that distinctly heart-y sort of way. The flavors popped, especially with a light squeeze of lemon.

An antipasti of polpo e patate / octopus, potatoes, celery & lemon. lemony was also very nicely made, though served a touch too cold. This version was well balanced and not overly acidic, though lemon flavors were assertive. Octopus was tender, maybe just a bit overboiled in parts. Thin slices of celery added a nice crunch and textural contrast to the soft polpo and potatoes.

We also ordered a starter off the contorni menu, the topinambur / roasted sunchokes & Sicilian almonds. This was another simple, but glorious, dish. Sunchokes were a bit too oily for health, but definitely not too oily for deliciousness, and had been roasted until sweet and fragrant. Almonds were well roasted, not at all soft from contact with the moisture in the dish, and highlighted the nuttiness inherent in the sunchoke.

My dining companion ordered the garganelli with braised rabbit, green olives & rosemary as his main course. He loved the texture of the pasta, which he said was fresh and had been cooked to a perfect al dente. The sauce was very rich and flavorful, studded with whole nodes of sweet garlic, rustically pitted olives (apparently done by hand rather than using a pitter). I've read some complaints about the portion sizes on sites like Even without both a primi and secondi, my dining companion, a moderately hearty eater, found this course very filling because of its richness.

My main was the zuppa d’arzilla / seared skate wing & romanesco soup, which included delicate, flakey pieces of skate in a tomato-y broth, served over romanesco cauliflower and tomatoes. The soup, a classic, Roman dish beloved as a Friday meal among observant Catholics, was a tad too salty. I didn't notice the intense salinity at first, but it caught up to me by the time I finished. Skate was very fresh, as were the nicely cooked, flavorful vegetables (hiding under the skate in the picture), which balanced the dish nicely. The broth was gorgeous, rich with the flavor of vegetables and skate.

We were, unfortunately, too full for dessert this time. (I think the saltiness of the zuppa d'arzilla did me in, since I had to chase the food with a great deal of water.) But that just means I'll need to make a return visit -- and soon. Chef Nick Anderer clearly oversees a highly competent kitchen.

2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

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