08. August 2005 Italian, Lower East Side 0

60 Clinton Street between Rivington and Stanton
about $100 for two, with two drinks, without tip
♥ ♥ ♥

I rarely go to an Italian restaurant because I can’t, and don’t want to, eat a whole big bowl of pasta. Falai serves the familiar but transcends at the same time because of the imaginative use of ingredients.

Rich chicken livers were served with a fluff of polenta but also surrounded with chanterelles. The baby octopus did not come with vinaigrette but instead cooked with caramelized Gaeta olives for that mildly sweet taste. Eggplants fried in batter sounded off-putting in 90-degree weather but they were sliced so thin and done so lightly, perfectly. For our main course, we split the ravioli squid ink pasta stuffed with pine nuts, scallops, white asparagus fonduta and baked zucchini. It was heavenly.

Before chef Iacopo Falai managed the kitchen of Bread TriBeCa, he was the pastry chef at Le Cirque 2000. He pays tributes to his roots with the restaurant’s dessert menu, but alas, we had to settle for a dainty strawberry sorbet because we still had glasses of Veltliner and Tocai and Prosecco to finish.