Sunday, March 02, 2008

Mama mia!

Mia Dona
206 East 58th St (midtown)

Alexis: This past Saturday we had an early dinner at recently opened Mia Dona. When I called to inquire if we would need a reservation, the hostess led me to believe that it would be difficult to be seated and the two options she gave me were 5:30 or 10:00. I made the 5:30 and by the time we had finished with dessert, the restaurant was less than 1/4 full. So thanks for that! We ate while the entire staff hung out by the bar and watched us like hawks.

The restaurant is situated so that you have to take a few steps down to enter it but inside it seems big. On the walls are black and white dishes staggered throughout.

The wine list starts with suggestions from co-owner Donatella Arpaia, under headings such as "What I drink when I'm on a budget" or "What to drink when you're celebrating."

To start, we were brought a bread basket filled with rosemary foccacia and crusty Italian bread, as well as a bulb of roasted garlic.

Alexis: For an appetizer I ordered the calamari & caponata salad, which came with mini toasts spread with goat cheese. It was simple and refreshing but maybe a little overpowered by tomatoes. I know this is a big ingredient in caponata but calling it a salad was a bit of a stretch - I was expecting something different. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it either.

Alex: If you read this blog with any regularity you will know that I am not a huge seafood fan. I gave this one a try and sure enough, for the billionth time, I don't like seafood. It’s not to say that the dish was bad, but I just can't get with the chewy fishy taste of the Squid. Luckily the Tomato was strong enough to cover up most of the fishy taste.

Alexis: I ordered the mixed grill, which included two lamb chops, lamb ribs, cotechino and roasted parmesan-topped bone marrow, served atop a salsa verde tasting of fresh parsley. I love bone marrow so I dug into that straight away. Spread on olive oil-soaked country bread, it needed little else. The lamb chops were tender and tasty. The lamb ribs were lackluster, maybe a little overcooked - I've never tried this part of the lamb before so I was game. The cotechino, which is a fresh Italian sausage, was mild and very fatty.

We also ordered broccoli rabe as a side, which came in a covered dish, sauteed with garlic and pepperoncini. Limp and a little overcooked - I would've preferred a little crunch to them.

For dessert, a trio of gelatos/sorbettos: pear and meyer lemon sorbettos and a ricotta-cinnamon gelato. Can't go wrong with that.

Overall, a good dinner experience but I won't be rushing back any time soon.

Alex: The place looked very charming inside, but as Alexis said, we didn't need a reservation. The waiter was a trip! He kept hovering around us and said "please" a lot. I started off with a nice Italian wine which I forget the name of but it was really good. I ordered the Broccoli Rabe but pronounced it "rayb" which Alexis busted my balls about, and the Braised Beef Rib. I thought the Rabe was really good and on the spicy side due to the little peppers that were cut up into it. The meat itself was very tasty but WAAAAY too fatty for my liking (I'm trying to keep my Adonis-like physique). After I was finished my plate looked disgusting with all the fat and other scraps floating around on it. I enjoyed the meal and thought it was pretty reasonably priced but probably won’t be back too soon. I'm still searching for my favorite NYC Italian resturaunt :(

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