250 West 41st Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues
if we paid, about $125 for two, with two glasses of wine, without tip
I was invited by Montenapo to a tasting last week. I jumped at the chance because I think the restaurant scene in the midtown west area could use some help. Wait, what restaurant scene?
With Montenapo and Inakaya, both located in the New York Times building, no one has to subject themselves to the Times Square franchises anymore, nor do they have to eat mediocre food on Eighth Avenue before heading out to the theater. Unlike most of the city’s restaurants, you can enjoy your meal in a spacious atrium surrounded by glass windows. Ask to be seated next to the Renzo Piano-designed birch tree indoor garden for a view far away from outside traffic. Visit after 9pm and you can have a more intimate dinner without the suits.
We started with the buffalo strip loin carpaccio served with black peppercorn and Parmesan cheese. The celery sauce and mustard on the side helped cut the rawness of the meat. To sample their pasta selection, we opted for the tris and tried the pappardelle with lamb ragout, the ravioli with beef cheeks and the fettuccine with shiitake and oyster mushrooms plus some very fragrant morels. Unfortunately, the entire table must order the tris so we had more pasta than we could handle. We didn’t have enough room for the ossobuco served atop a saffron risotto, but it did serve well as leftover lunch the next day.
But of course, we managed to squeeze in desserts with our coffee and Mighty Leaf tea: tiramisu with a sliver of gold flake, blueberry cheesecake, mousse and strawberries served with a brush of chocolate sauce. At Montenapo, managing partner Jozef Juck and his staff were very generous and attentive. Throughout our time there, we felt like we were indulging ourselves in another city far away from home in the best sense possible.
Inakaya is in the same building