When given a choice of restaurant, Denis will almost always choose Italian cuisine, and it looks like Woody Allen may have the same preference. This past January, he opted out of attending the Golden Globes and instead took his family to a Broadway show and then on to Sistina Ristorante on the Upper East Side for dinner.
I don’t know what the Allens ate, but I can tell you that as Denis and I savored our 3-course Italian lunch, we had the poignant sensation of being back in Italy.
Host/owner/chef Giuseppe Bruno was most attentive, and helped us make our selections. By Day 3 of our visit to NY, following an intensive day of food-hopping, you can understand we did not have a large appetite, but we were after quality, not quantity.
I began with utterly delicious zucchini flowers stuffed with sheep’s milk ricotta on a bed of hot tomato coulis, followed by a deep fried soft shelled crab flavored most refreshingly with blood-orange segments and braised fennel.
Denis had Chef Bruno’s own take on an Insalata Caprese, with chunks of Heirloom Tomatoes and Buffalo Mozzarella, paper thin slices of cucumber and finely chopped red pepper with fresh basil, followed by a extraordinarily flavorful Bucatini all’Amatriciana.
Our meal was very appropriately accompanied by a light, fruity Rosso di Montalcino, and it was absolutely no problem at all for the 2 of us to finish off the bottle in the middle of the day.
For dessert, we shared the Italian pastry chef’s Torta della Nonna, intensely flavored with lemon and pinoli .
After I repeatedly begged Chef Bruno for the recipe, the pastry chef — an Italian woman in her early 30’s appeared at the bar wearing her hat and apron, and proceeded to write down her recipe from memory – in Italian no less as she doesn’t speak English.
Speaking of authentic! We departed Sistina with every intention of returning to the restaurant where we found the service to be excellent and layers of flavor seem to characterize every dish.
Stay tuned to BonVoyageurs.com for more Countries of the World as we share our joie de vivre from around the world. Luxury escapes and city breaks to Quebec City, New York, Washington, Buenos Aires. In Europe, places like Paris France, Nice France, Provence and the Cote d’Azur (French Riviera), Tuscany and Florence in Italy, Rome, Napoli and the Amalfi Coast. In Asia, countries like China, India, Nepal and so much more!