The first time I went to Torrisi, I was hooked. I have been back several times but only for lunch. I finally went for dinner this past weekend. Keep in mind no reservations but well worth waiting.
The whole concept of the restaurant is brilliant. Small and intimate and what they serve that day is what they serve. I have always been a fan of that. Everyone in the restaurant is eating the same thing and there is no doubt that each dish is prepared to perfection because there are not a variety of options. I also love the lace curtains on the windows. It's reminiscent of the old school Italian restaurants in NYC from years ago but what is inside is a very modern take on old style Italian cooking. Clever.
The starters are a mixture of antipasti's for the table to share. This is a warm mozzarella made with a cream base and a little olive oil over the top. On the side is garlic bread. I admit that I did not touch the garlic bread but asked for some bread with nothing on it. Truth is the mozzarella was so delicious that it was perfect by itself.
This is a warm seafood salad. I really liked this too. A mixture of seafood in a warm vinaigrette served over lettuce. Wonderful.
A few people didn't want to try this but to me this particular dish is what is so interested about the new breed of chefs. April Bloomfield starting doing this and for that matter so did Mario Batali. Taking pieces of meat that are generally not used, which make them inexpensive, and creating delicious dishes. Lamb Tongue Gyro is the name of this dish. Thinly sliced tongue with a touch of spicy yogurt and roasted vegetables. A modern twist on the gyro.
These crispy spring onions were fantastic. Small spring onions covered in panko and then deep fried with a smoky sour cream to dip them into. Wow.
This was a treat. Small radishes with a sauce on the side for dipping. The sauce was a thick consistency with shaved fish roe. Quite delicious and the radishes must have been pulled from the ground that morning. Even the green tops were good.
Classic Italian restaurants always serve a pasta course. Tonight was ricotta gnocchi with sautéed ramps. These might have been the lightest melt in your mouth gnocchi I have had in a very long time. Buttery, soft, flavorful, just a small incredible explosion in your mouth.
For dinner, there were three options. Everyone orders their own main course but we decided to split everything. This was the fish. Poached black sea bass with pickles green tomatoes, olives and roasted sliced potatoes.
Deviled chicken. A spicy paprika chicken breast pounded and pan fried over polenta topped with greens. Very nice. I love chicken.
The special that evening was a short rib for two. Roasted, taken off the bone and then sliced and served over the bone. Really good and different, as short ribs are usually braised.
Always nice to have a palate cleanser. Grapefruit ice.
I liked the idea of a cookie plate for dessert. Small cannolis filled with cream. Tiny cream puffs and the filling had a hint of bourbon. Rainbow cookies were beautiful with a pistachio flavor. Tiny tarts with a sunchoke savory tasty filling. My favorite was the sugar cookie topped with celery salt. So clever. The mixture of savory salt and sugar just worked.
A great night. I can hardly wait to go back.