#44 Locanda Verde
Sheep’s milk ricotta with truffle honey and burnt orange toast $15
A dense dollop of luxurious, intense ricotta cream, peppered with sprigs of rosemary, fresh black pepper and muddled with decadent black truffle. Crowned with gooey honey, which brought sweet balance to the savory truffle. Served with four thick slices of grilled orange-infused farmers bread, which we contentedly slathered with the sweet ricotta. A great way to begin a meal.
Zucchini frittata with roasted tomato, goat cheese and basil $17
A prettily presented version of the traditional frittata. The chef combined small chunks of crunchy zucchini with special, seasonal flowers, arranged in a circular pattern. Mixed in were bits of fresh basil and tasty mouthfuls of goat cheese. Garnished with slivers of Mediterranean-style rich, roasted tomatoes and, in the center, a small scoop of goat cheese with dill. We found this dish slightly lacking in flavor: perhaps it could have benefited from a bit more simple seasoning (salt, pepper) during preparation.
Soft scrambled farm egg crostino with leeks and mushrooms $19
This dish was rather disappointing. A small serving of light, fluffy yet under-seasoned scrambled eggs placed on a piece of hard toast. The over-dressed salad (a blend of arugula and frisee lettuce) was mixed with a couple thin pieces of hen of the wood mushroom. Unfortunately, we felt this was bland, over-priced and poorly plated. Better off to avoid this one.
Uovo modenese with cotechino hash, spinach and tomato hollandaise $20
A decadent, rich Italian alternative to the traditional eggs florentine. Two perfectly poached eggs placed on a bed of cotechino hash. Cotechino is an Italian charcuterie product, occasionally likened to salami, that is used in cooked dishes. The crumbly texture and fatty flavors add extra depth to a cooked dish. Mixed in with the hearty meat was a generous helping of spinach. Served with more of Locanda Verde’s delicious farmers bread (which I used to mop up all the yolk and sauce). Garnished with a sprinkling of diced chives.
We initially approached Locanda Verde with hesitancy, as many of Andrew Carmellini’s restaurants (The Dutch included) have a reputation for style over substance. Since it was opened in 2009, it’s garnered significant amount of critical commentary – both positive and negative – so we were unsure what to expect.
Overall, we found the food mixed. The ricotta was simple and tasty, though not particularly complicated, while the frittata and scrambled egg were pretty unremarkable and indistinct. By contrast, the uovo modenese was a heady mixture of deep, fatty flavors which was ideal brunch fare for a Saturday morning. Based on this, it seems that you have to order carefully at Locanda Verde. Expect some interesting, enjoyable and memorable items but don’t expect to be whipped on an amazing culinary journey. Otherwise, you’ll either love or hate the buzzy space but you’ll certainly appreciate the kind, knowledgeable and extremely well trained staff.
377 Greenwich St.