Saturday, May 12, 2012

Change of Plans

I woke up to my alarm or maybe it was my phone? Either way, I woke up and checked my phone. I had a voicemail from one of my managers informing me that I didn't have to come in today--I was relieved and caught a few more hours of sleep. By 10am I forced myself out of bed and got out of the apartment. I skipped my normal breakfast routine and started walking uptown. The streets were alive, but thats no surprise considering the dampness of the last few days. Heading up Fulton Street, I pass tourist looking for the Seaport. Trying to avoid scaffolding and construction, I ended up on Greenwich which was loaded with families. Dodging strollers, I kept my eyes open for a breakfast spot; but nothing really stood out. I knew Locanda Verde was just a few more blocks, so I didn't want to settle for just anything. The only other place that had a crowd was Sarabeth's; but that seemed a little too child-friendly.

Arriving at Locanda Verde, I was surprised on how many families were there with their kids. I grabbed a seat at the bar and was greeted by a bartender with a menu. I read the menu and took in my surroundings. The atmosphere but bustling, but controlled. Dress shirts and ties worn by the staff gave the restaurant a serious tone while their jeans made you lean back in a more casual vibe. Casual elegant seemed to be an ongoing theme at Locanda Verde, where Andrew Carmelinni runs the kitchen. Carmelinni was mentored by Daniel Boulud, so expectations were high. Locande Verde was chef Carmelinni's first venture; but then he shortly opened The Dutch in Soho than another Dutch in Miami. 

Looking over the menu, there was plenty of mouth-watering options; but a few dishes stood out. Nothing seemed overly exciting; but sometimes the simple food is the most delicious. I started with Sheep's Milk Ricotta with burnt orange toast. The ricotta was drizzled with truffle honey and herbs--a delicious combination of fresh, aromatic, and sweet. Although my antipasti came first, they start you off with a piece of garlic focaccia bread that just got out of the oven. Its hard to resist warm bread; but I did have my ricotta with burnt toast in front of me and another course coming. My second course was hazelnut-crusted french toast with sour cherries and mint. The french toast was perfectly moist while the sour cherries only complimented the maple syrup and powdered sugar. I finished my meal with a double espresso and wandered back out to the streets where I walked off an indulgent brunch. 

I'm definitely going to go back for dinner. The food was delicious and the prices very reasonable for Carmelinni's talent. The space is tavern-like, but polished. The service is professional though not over-friendly. My favorite response from the bartender was his reasoning behind liking the french toast: "they use dark rum in it". But the pacing of the food was right on point and they weren't pushy. They charged me for the wrong bill; but an honest mistake thats not a big deal (unless I see it on my next statement). All in all, a great Saturday brunch that prepared me for the day's festivities. Head over to Locanda Verde for an early dinner and sit outside as the weather stays beautiful.

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