2 Lexington Ave. & 21st/22nd Sts. in the Gramercy Park Hotel, 212-777-2410
Great for: pasta, sophisticated nights out, dates
The Scholar/Mistress and I share many common interests, the foremost among which is amazing food. (Or maybe reading books. But you guys don’t care about that.) We were delighted to get a reservation to Maialino, which we’d both heard wonderful things about.
Our starter of crostone di fegato (chicken liver) and aged balsamic vinaigrette was great on large half-slices of bread. The balsamic was a nice peppery contrast to the creamy pâté.
For budgetary considerations we got two pastas to share as a main. My bucatini all’amatriciani with pecorino, spicy tomato and guanciale was delightful and spicy. It reminded me of when I’d first had the dish in Rome; this was just as good, with perfectly al dente and wiggly noodles. S/M’s agnolotti corn ravioli with sungolds and ricotta salata was also lovely. We liked the large pasta and all the flavors went together really well.
Surprisingly, one app, two pastas and a generous side of potatoes with rosemary is enough for two hungry girls! We still had a little room for dessert, of course. I went for the affogato, gelato in espresso, which was good but super bitter and delicious simultaneously. S/M ordered the absolutely lovely gianduja budino, a chocolate and hazelnut bread pudding. It was very large and wonderful, especially when we discovered the chocolate melted in the middle.
I’m so glad the hotel finally found a restaurant worthy of it that’s popular too. I definitely wish I could afford to come back often.
Rating: 8.5 / 10
Our cost: $90 (1 app, 2 pastas, 1 side, 2 desserts, 1 lavender mint tea)
Noise level: noisy
Chance of walking in: it might be ok, since the place is huge, but you should call.