Mozzarella e Vino * 33 W 54th Street, New York, NY 10019 * $$
Nestled among gorgeous townhouses across from the Museum of Modern Art on the Upper West Side is an authentic Italian restaurant that may indeed change your life. If you could not already tell by the name — which is what attracted me to its menu right away — Mozzarella e Vino focuses on dishes made of highest quality ingredients. And when it comes to the Italian dinner essentials — mozzarella and wine, this is of utmost importance.
I began the meal with a champagne starter and a tasting menu of the charcuterie offerings. From salami to prosciutto the entire cutting board was delicious. The meats were paired with blueberries and walnuts, which gave it a different flavor that catered to a sweet-and-salty palate. The sliced tomatoes were fresh and paired well with the mozzarella plate. I tried the smoked mozzarella, buffalo mozzarella and burrata — the latter being the clear winner. Before we even tasted anything else, Ben and I looked at each other and knew that we would be coming back for more burrata.
While waiting for our next round of appetizers we started to try a basket of homemade breadsticks and bread. These flavors, combined with a truly delicious plate of extra virgin olive oil reminded us of our month of travels in Italy. Not only did the food taste good, but it tasted like it was made fresh from fresh ingredients — which is the traditional Italian way.
There’s a reason why Italians are known for going to the grocery store or market each morning to get their produce for the day. It takes the quality of the dishes to another level, getting the most out of the flavors of the fruits and vegetables you’re cooking with.
The next appetizer I tasted was fried calamari— which can be the make-or-break dish of an Italian restaurant. This plate was not too fishy, but tasted perfectly crispy. The marinara was a bit spicy for my taste so I opted for a dose of lemon juice sprinkled on the fish. To Ben, this dish was even better than the meat and cheese, but for me nothing could come close to the burrata.
For the vino selection, the house sommelier helped us choose a bottle of Barbera d’Alba 2014 Deltetto, a smooth pinot noir that had hints of woody sweetness and paired nicely with our entrees.
For my main course I selected the Classic fresh fettucine alla Bolognese topped with fresh grated parmesan cheese. Once again the flavors were fresh and blended together nicely. Ben ordered the Slow braised lamb, in red wine and organic vegetable sauce, served with mashed potatoes. The presentation came out different than we were both expecting but the result was delicious. The lamb tasted as if it had been marinated and cooked slowly for hours.
Last but certainly not least, I tried some of the server recommended selections from the dessert menu— the Torta di mascarpone “tiramisu style,” Vanilla panna cotta with strawberries and Seasonal fruit tart on vanilla custard.
As far as our favorite dessert went, Ben and I disagreed once again. The tiramisu was absolutely incredible. It was light and fluffy yet somehow creamy. It had more of a chocolate flavor than espresso, which may have been why I liked it so much. The panna cotta was also delicious. The vanilla flavor was so strong that you could tell that it had been made with vanilla bean pods instead of just vanilla extract. Topped with fruit, it made for another great selection. The fruit tart however left much to be imagined.
If you are in the area, Mozzarella e Vino is a must-try stop after a day of roaming the Museum of Modern Art or Central Park, both located just blocks away. The restaurant is the perfect way to celebrate traditional Italian cuisine prepared with fresh and top-quality ingredients.
Stay Classy! xx