NEW YORK, NY
First off, please forgive my absence. It has been a beyond hectic couple of months but I am coming on the end of the tunnel and I can breathe (and eat) again.
Let’s get into it on this new discovery of mine in the neighborhood. It is actually not a new restaurant, they’re almost a year old but I was always going to Le Bernadin and Aldo Sohm Wine Bar instead of venturing up just one more street to find them. Well I have been here twice now and I do believe that this is quite the gem. The first time I came here, I woke up in the morning craving wood fired pizza but could not for the life me remember the place that I loved downtown that was just on the outskirts of Little Italy. So I did some quick digging around and lo and behold, this restaurant popped up.
Entering the space, I loved how they were able to transform your mindset in such a way that screamed, “Relax”! The beautiful low lighting with wood paneled interior had a lot to do with that. The bar was a beautiful marble and stocked adequately with the essentials. The bar was actually full but they were gracious enough to give me a table to help fix my craving.
Perusing the pizza section of the menu, I found that they had a number of options. The deciding point came down to the fact that I really missed my mom and the fresh mushrooms that I would get from her farm so I opted for that. I did not pay attention enough to see that it also came with soppressata. Call me crazy but I am mostly a no-meat on pizza person. I was tempted to send it back but this was no one’s fault but my own so I decided to progress with it. This was spectacular. There was an almost char and smokey flavor of the soppressata on flavor but the bang on flavor was the spicy honey that was drizzled on the pizza. I think I may have exclaimed, “mmmmmm” out loud and lost my manners and everything. It was just that good. With that craving satisfied, I took a mental note to visit again.
I returned a week later and started with what should have been the first test… a Negroni. It was an absolutely solid cocktail and hit the ball out of the park. It was a negroni with Botaniste gin (though not as good as a Negroni from Mr. Negroni at Bad Roman… Go get one you will not regret it).
So I settled to eat on arancini and the duck but I also asked for some bread. We all know by now that that is the initial food test. A Negroni is the drink test and the bread is the food test. The bread was sourdough and not warm but the supremely fresh olive oil and balsamic vinegar that it came with is spectacular.
The arancini was off of the bar food menu and it was tasty. There was a green sauce that was drizzled atop it and there was this savory flavor to the otherwise vegetal sauce. I love that it was not greasy even though it looked like it would be. I would not say that I was floored by them but I did eat three of the eight that I was given before I realized that I still had to eat my main course the duck. Sorry I was so hungry having sustained only on coffee all day that I forgot to take a photo.
Next was my main, the duck which I paired with a Chianti. The first bottle they opened for me was corked but they were quick to remediate… unlike a restaurant that shall not be named who once upon who tried to argue that I did not know wine. I have been spoiled by all my beyond phenomenal wine places so this wine was kind of just okay. Aldo is right next door to this restaurant so I figured that I would just pop right in there when done with my meal. They incorrectly brought me the lamb instead of the duck but the wait was well worth it as it was perfect seared while maintaining its succulent juiciness that the chef had decided on temperature medium rare. I generally hate mustard seed but I have no idea what they did to what they placed atop this duck, it was spectacular. Eating the endive and grape that came along with it was tasty but I was not a fan of the combination of the endive, grape, mustard seed and duck in one bite so I stuck to the mustard seed, grape and duck. Be careful not to have the duck with too much of the mustard seed though as it overpowers, you want just a dash to enhance the sweetness of the jus of the duck. This truly was a really delightful dish.
This was my short and sweet double visit to La Baia, I most definitely encourage you to make a visit.