insieme: a food review
disclaimer: i went there for lunch last week for "friends and family" so everything was gratis. and, no matter what anyone says, food is much better when it's free.
the dinner reviews have been good. look for bruni to write up this place in a couple weeks as he's been making his visits. they want three stars. they got two from platt. as long as the service stays good (and as long as bruni doesn't concentrate too much on what is a pretty sterile dining room) they might just get it.
the dining room was smaller than i'd thought it was going to be. the interior shades of white and gray. a tad cold, a tad formal, essentially modern and minimalist
the menu was divided in half. on the left: three sections of "classic italian" fare. on the right: italian fare with an updated twist, sometimes fusiony. we ordered the way the menu seemed to want us to, starting with an appetizer, ordering a small pasta portion (as is the way in italy, the pastas are always eaten first, as an appetizer or second course, almost never an entree), and then an entree.
i started with the veal tonnato. thinly sliced veal, served chilled with a creamy looking sauce that tasted of lemon and butter, garnished with capers. the veal was tender, the sauce just salty enough though ultimately richer than i'd thought it was going to be. however, i only barely restrained myself from licking the few drips of sauce i couldn't mop up with the veal, off my plate.
next was a "cured tuna" carbonara. turns out cured tuna tastes just like cured ham. i would have thought it was porchetta had i went into the tasting blindly. but it was made traditionally in a sauce of egg yolk and parmesan cheese (no cream, thank god). they did throw some peas in there and they should have added some black pepper but i had no qualms about the dish otherwise. it came as a tiny portion but considering how rich it is (and how rich the veal with butter sauce was) i wasn't complaining.
next was a sea bass served in a sauce that i wish i remembered more clearly. it was light, white wine probably with butter (of course) and served with sauteed cherry tomatoes, artichokes and "young garlic" which, on the plate, looked like the bulbous end of a scallion.
dessert was panna cotta, my favorite! served in a sauce of drunken strawberries and a glass of moscato. it was absolutely perfect, even though i personally think it's nearly impossible to mess up panna cotta.
the service was good, but it always is when a restaurant first opens. suffice it to say they didn't seem "fake nice" there. there wasn't a whole lot of snobbery though several "managerial looking" people walked around the room hurriedly as if on edge the entire time.
and, like i said, the meal was free of charge but it would have been $120 for the two of us which seemed more than reasonable. we had four courses and three glasses of wine each. we left satiated without being comatosely full. which was good because i had to go back to work (and stay late) because of my two hour lunch.
starting today insieme is open for lunch to the public. the food was, absolutely, worth a second and third visit even knowing i'll have to open up my wallet and pay for it next time.