Going into Locanda Verde, I knew that the sheeps’ milk ricotta garnered a lot of attention in the blogosphere and also in publications, so choosing the dish was easy enough. What I couldn’t understand is how Andrew Carmellini transforms ricotta into such a luxurious form fit for doling over on vacations. One bite tells all: the sheeps’ milk ricotta with burnt orange toast is worth all the hype. Embodying the texture of whipped cream cheese, Carmellini’s ricotta served an addictive accompaniment to toast. Light, truffle honey lay drizzled over the ricotta, and rosemary sprigs graced atop cloud-white cheese. The trio packed a synchronous punch to my taste buds, achieving perfect balance between sweet, savory, and fragrant.The burnt orange toast itself could anchor as a stellar dish. With a crunchy, charred crust invoking robust aromas and an interior soft as plush, Carmellini’s toast certainly does not come from an ordinary toaster oven. A dab of salted butter closes the deal, further elevating flavor profile and winning an uncontested spot as one of my all-time favorite dishes.
In light of Carmellini’s ricotta dish, the ensuing foods were destined to pale, but Carmellini’s organic oatmeal, though a bit watered down for my tastes, held its own. Steel cut oats created a soft, yet gritty, texture, and sliced almonds provided some reprieve from this otherwise gooey dish. Differentiating his oatmeal from others, Carmellini adds grappa-stewed fruits, figs and apricot, for an elegant twist. Grappa, a type of grape brandy, bestowed a strong, distinct flavor to the fruits. Evenso, Carmellini’s choice of dried fruits instead of fresh fruits left more to be desired.
My sister ordered a pastry mista, which is a plate of three pastries: doughnut, sweet bread, and muffin. Unfortunately, I did not taste anything but the doughnut, which was reminiscent of Doughnut Plant’s signature offerings except with a tantalizing coating of sugar.
Despite its fancy name, the Niman Ranch smoked bacon tasted no different than store-bought bacon cooked at home, so while Locanda Verde offers solid leads, its cast of characters is not completely flawless.
377 Greenwich St
(corner of N.Moore and Greenwich)
New York, NY 10013