I recently read several good reviews about this restaurant on the UES and was curious to try. 1st thing that caught my eye was that they have a corkage policy. Most places that do either charge an ungodly amount or they seem to look down on those patrons that do bring their own. Here, they were very accommodating and friendly. We were a table of 3 and brought 2 bottles, which we insisted that they taste. Upon receiving the bill, one of the corkage fees were waived. That rarely happens in NYC.
The menu is not long or elaborate but very interesting (ie: chestnut risotto, sausage, raisins, brown butter). To start I had the spicy braised tripe in tomato, ginger which sounded odd but the flavors married nicely. The other 2 starters were the wild mussels, tomato, garlic, salami, fennel which was also very good along with a regular garden salad...ho hum. Next we had the gnocchi alla Bolognese, the special ravioli which was stuffed with essentially the meat from osso bucco and topped w/a rich demi glace. I cannot get over how light and flavorful the gnocchi alla Bolognese was! Truly one of the finest Bolognese's I have ever had, either here in the US or in Italy. The ravioli were just as delightful. The meat wasn't ground like a traditional stuffing but rather in delectable morsels inside perfectly thin dough purses. The sauce as I mentioned was akin to a demi-glace but not quite as thick. Again perfect. The 3rd pasta dish was a crepe like filling of goat ricotta cheese and lamb ragu. It was very very good but was overshadowed by the other 2.
Unfortunately all 3 of us opted for the house specialty of Sfoglia’s chicken al mattone. Until last night I have always professed that I make the best chicken anywhere. I need to reassess that statement. Quality dishes always start with quality ingredients and given this simple dish, quality is key. My guess is that they use are D'Artagnan chickens. OMG the flavors of the chicken were pure and the simple dressing of olive oil, lemon and crushed red peppers was terrific! Simple but astounding! BTW, if not for what I think was the bottom crust being a overly salty, the bread could be one of the best I have ever had. Seriously crunchy crust while the consistency of the inside was beautify dense with the right amount of chew. Service was proficient and friendly.
Dessert of bread pudding was very good. If you are looking for the Il Mulino or L'Impero experience then this place is not for you. If you are looking for incredible food quality along w/friendly staff and rustic cozy atmosphere, Sfoglia hits on all cylinders!