The Madelyn [Click the photo above to go to the Madelyn’s website]
82 W 3rd St (between Thompson St & Sullivan St) New York, NY 10012
My dream in life is to get free food, and it finally came true when I went to my very first tasting at the Madelyn.
Here’s how it went:
The first decision I had to make was who was I going to take? I felt it was appropriate to invite my friend who I went to the Madelyn opening with, but he told me he had plans, so he’s a dill hole.
I could invite my friend who also has a food blog, but he’s going to some art show. He gets gayer and gayer (politically incorrect I know, but it is what it is) I swear.
I also had my holiday office party the night before so I was not in good shape to say the least. Who could I invite where I wouldn’t have to over extend myself for at dinner?
“Mom, do you want to go with me?”
Ding ding ding ding.
I unfortunately told her while I was still at work, and might I add a busy day, and she was a machine gun of questions.
“Where is it located?”
“How do I get there?”
Text me this. Text me that. I think my favorite suggestion of hers was she wouldn’t pick me up at my apartment, but I could have the cab drop me off somewhere on the west side, and she could pick me up from there.
So I would tell a cab driver a random corner, so I could drive downtown with my mom and her GPS, which she fights with…constantly…absolutely not.
“I’ll meet you there.”
Dinner was at 8:30, and of course my mom arrived at the restaurant at around 8 o’clock. I have to take extra care with whatever outfit I put together for my mom, because according to her I almost always a. need to iron it b. need to fix my hair c. need to put on more lipstick. I decide on a button down with a sweater.
When we arrive I order some wine, and we are seated at a couch in front of the fire place.
It is very romantic, and hot. I start pulling off my sweater, and I see my mom make a face.
“It’s ironed. Don’t worry.”
I can see she didn’t believe me until she saw the shirt for herself.
Lucky for us, a couple next to us found the fire place very romantic, and proceeded to make-out the entire meal, which was 5 courses by the way.
“How drunk do you think they are?”
“Why do you think they’re drunk?”
“Who makes out like that sober?”
The waiter and owner ask us if we have any special requests, and the only piece of information they need to know is that my mom is allergic to tomatoes.
“Did you tell them I’m allergic to tomatoes?”
“I just did.”
First course arrives: oysters and champagne. I am not an oyster person, but had I brought a man: champagne, oysters, fireplace…that’s like out of a movie. Except in reality I was trying to figure out a way to slip an oyster on my mom’s plate so it looked like I ate more, and my mom drank the champagne before I could cheers her.
Next course arrives: Guanciale “pork jowl” pizza with black truffle and egg.
They had this at the restaurant opening, and I picked at it, but this time I had to hold myself back. It was sooooo good. The egg is cooked in the center of the pizza, and you dip the pizza into the runny egg. I asked for this pizza to go, because if I finished it I knew I wouldn’t be able to eat anything else.
I’m already in reclining position on the couch.
Home made burrata cheese on naan bread with pesto and tomato. My mom’s portion had no tomato (touché). The naan bread was toasted perfectly, and I never ever everrrr don’t like burrata cheese.
As the courses continue, my mom and I are served different dishes to accommodate mi madre’s allergy.
I get spicy shellfish soup. She gets fried artichokes on a bed of lettuce.
“I can’t find my contacts list anymore on my phone.” My mom got her first Iphone, and before that she was using the Blackberry Pearl, so you can imagine the delightful questions my sister and I get asked.
“Is that why you emailed me that you were here, and didn’t text me?”
You probably put it in another folder.”
“How do I call people now?”
“You have the address book in the “phone” section when you make a call. The green button.”
I get eggplant parmesan. She gets pork belly.
“Why is it green now? I need the brown button.”
“It’s two different buttons.”
We both get veal ravioli, which tasted exactly like my grandmother’s kreplach. It’s always exciting with a restaurant dish reminds you of a home cooked meal.
And finally: apple crisp.
“Do we tip the waitresses?”
“I don’t know. I’ve never had a tasting before.”
“What are we supposed to tip?”
“I’ll give it to them. You know, like the mom, doing it. It’s a mom thing.”
As long as I don’t have to do it. Miss Awkward over here.
The owner Lou comes over to ask us how our meal was. He plops down next to me, so I’m a little sandwich between him and my mom. I can barely focus, because I keep staring at the couple next to us.
“You ready to go home?”
I grab my coat as the guy grabs his lady’s butt, and off we go.
Champagne and Oysters.
These are East Coast oysters, hence their size. I am not a fan of the texture of any oyster, but I did enjoy the flavor of these.
Guanciale “pork jowl” pizza with black truffle and egg.
This is just sooo delicious when cooked right. Bacon, eggs, cheese, bread (no tomatoes)…its like a food pyramid of yummyness. I was beyond excited for leftovers, but my mom ate it instead.
Home Made Burrata Cheese: grilled naan bread, pesto, roasted tomato
This bread had the perfect amount of crunch. Creamy cheese, and pesto. It’s not a cute thing to eat: potential green in the teeth, and requires more than one bite, but seriously I don’t care. It’s worth it.
Madelyn’s Spicy Shellfish Soup: shrimp, scallops, little neck clams, garlic, tomato broth
This is perfect for the winter weather. It’s hearty but not heavy. I had a few bites, because soup fills me up very quickly, and I had to save room.
Fried Baby Artichoke Salad: parmesan cheese, chili oil lemon vinagrette, parsley
This was light and crunchy. They served this to my mom, while I received the soup, and I popped one of those chokes right into my mouth. I actually preferred this, and I think my mom preferred the soup (but she couldn’t eat it heehee).
My mom was again jealous that she couldn’t eat this. Solid eggplant dish.
Berkshire Porkbelly with vinegar sauce.
I sort of died for this. The porkbelly was crispy on the outside and a little fatty, and the vinegar just gave the dish some acid. This was the first time they made this dish with the vinegar sauce, and I loved it. The waitress even brought over the vinegar they used, so my mom could use it for cooking at home. Here it is below.
White Vinegar for pork belly, sold at specialty markets.
Veal Ravioli with balsamic reduction.
I try to stay away from pasta dishes at restaurants that have a lounge/bar vibe. It just seems too heavy for a cocktail, however this was delic. If it tastes like something my grandma made it’s a great sign.
FYI: this was just for me, and they served another apple crisp just for my mom. I was about to keel over at this point. My mom lovesss apple crisp, and it was very good. However, it was still very hot when it was served to us, so I think the crisp needed to sit for a bit longer so it wasn’t so oozy. Still a great end to the meal 🙂
Nicoletta [Click the photo above to go to Nicoletta website]
160 Second Avenue (on the corner of 10th Street), New York, NY 10003
I know what you’re thinking, I’ve never heard of Nicoletta, what is this place? I’m just so insanely on trend that I decided to a try the new Michael White restaurant that opened in mid-June (let me think I’m cool ok!).
I secretly knew there might be a wait since it’s a new restaurant and they don’t take reservations, but I didn’t tell my friend who I was meeting there (like I was gonna let her pick a different place), so I got there a few minutes early, put my name down, and phoned my mom to kill some time.
I see my friend approaching, and I tell my mom I have to go, “you called me!” She says and then hangs up. Jewish moms…
I break the news to her that there is a wait, and I have to say, she kept it together pretty well, considering she texted me that she was starving a few minutes before arriving, so plus 5 for maintaining your composure girl.
We opt to go across the street to 13th Step to get a beer, while we wait for our table (they call you when your table is up). Just as we order our Blue Moons (the girly beer), we get a call saying our table is ready. It was like 10 minutes earlier than they said, so I already loved them. We cancel our drinks and haul ass back to Nicoletta (it was 10 feet away, but we were hungry!).
“This place is so cute. I love the aesthetic….you can put that in the blog. aes-thet-ic,” my friend says it slowly like I’m about to whip out a pad and jot it down.
“I’ll be sure to note that.” That being said, it is cute. Brick walls, red décor, I’m gonna label it “laid back chic.” Do what you want with that information.
We order our wine and settle into the menu.
“Ok, what are we gonna get?”
We try so hard to look at the menu and decide, but we keep getting distracted, talking about how hungry we are, her “douschebag professor,” you get the idea….
I felt like my eyes were turning into ping pong balls as I tried to catch the waiter’s eye, maintain eye contact with my friend, and scan the menu (I’m a multi-tasker what can I say?).
“Ok, let’s just decide on a pizza first.”
“I’m not into red meat,” my friend replies.
“Great, I try to avoid red meat too.”
We go for the broccolo pie, which is broccoli rabe, peppers, and some pesto thing happening.
“Doesn’t your family think it’s weird that you don’t eat meat? Like your dad?” (referencing one of my blog posts, she’s a fan!)
“Yeah, he does, but then he does this…” and I motion him hitting his chin implying my face blew up.
“I hate that! My brother makes fun of me too, but did he run 3 miles before eating, no! I did!”
I’m suddenly wondering if we’re on the same page…
“You run 3 miles?”
“I work out like 5 or 6 days a week.” Hmm, do you? I work out 3 days a week, putting her at a 50% advantage in the aerobic department. I don’t like not being the fit one at the table (it happens often if you can imagine). I’m starting to doubt her.
We order two “small bites,” of a cucumber salad and risotto balls (her suggestion, my love for her is growing again).
We look over at the table next to us, and two skinny girls are eating 3 small bites. We will NOT be outdone.
“Maybe we should get that eggplant,” she says. I can forgive you for your 5-6 workout regimen. Consider it water under the bridge.
We order, and my friend rushes to wash her hands. The cheese stands alone. I whip out my phone, and pretend I’m busy.
She sits back down, and tells me there is a bathroom on the main floor. I am loving this place more and more.
The small bites are indeed small (my pictures below make them look large, but they are not, but they’re also $5 sooo I get it), but they’re really really yummy.
Cucumber salad is on the healthy side with a nice crunch; the eggplant has great flavor, and it comes with bread so yay to that, and the risotto balls are deep fried balls of rice, so I didn’t foresee that being a problem (only 4 of them though, so portion control!)
My friend notices little silver circles at the sides of our table.
“Is this for our bags?”
I look around at the other tables. “Nope, that’s where they put the pizza stand in.”
Honest mistake. She’s going to kill me when she reads this, because she’s going to say I made her sound like an idiot. I think it’s a normal question!
Before I can fully laugh at her, we look at the skinny girls next to us, and see their pizza has come. Looks like they’re eating tonight too. I wonder if they ate anything else today, or if they’re just naturally skinny.
Our pizza arrives, and it’s go time! It was yummy, but I’m gonna shoot you straight, I liked the small bites better. We decided we would have preferred a “saucier” pizza.
“Like the ones the girls have next to us…” Do you think these girls know how much trouble they’re causing for us?
I look down at my wine, and I see a little bug has lost its way into my glass of rose, and is now doing the free style in my glass. It looks like the bug is legit swimming in my glass, and I cannot stop watching it.
“Look at that thing!”
“It’s really swimming.”
I share with the busboy that I have an Olympic swimmer in my wine glass, and he takes it and returns with a new glass that is bug free.
“Would you ladies like dessert?” YES.
Gelato is the only option, and I’m not complaining.
“Would you like any toppings?”
We pick the pistachio nuts that the waiter recommends, and he looks at us all crazy and says, “that’s it?” Toppings are fifty cents fyi.
We go for the caramel sauce.
As we wait for our dessert, we see the girls next to us have ordered individual gelatos. Now they’re just rude!
We get ours, and it is definitely the best part of the meal. It’s amazing. 16 handles may be across the street, but ditch the fro yo and get the gelato for sure.
As we depart from the restaurant, I realize there is construction on 3rd avenue, and no cars are allowed on the street. Guess I’ll call my mom while I walk home.
This picture was taken before a bug flew into my glass. I don’t know much about wine, but I liked mine.
Nicoletta (cetriolo:spicy red wine vinegar marinated, cucumbers, black peppercorn)
This was delicious! I am a really picky cucumber eater (I don’t like when it has a mushy center), and this had the perfect crunch and mix of acid. I loved it!
Nicoletta (caponata: marinated sicilian eggplant, peppers, pine nuts, basil)
This was surprisingly amazing. I loved it, and tried to share with my friend, but I kept dipping my fork back into the little bowl.
And that bread? Crispy and unreal.
Nicoletta (suppli’ risotto, mozzarella, ragu antico)
A deep fried carb with dipping sauce. It’s not packed with flavor, but it’s not meant to be. It’s just yum.
Nicoletta (broccolo pizza: broccoli rabe pesto, smoked scamorza cheese, cherry peppers, spicy bread crumbs)
Looks pretty good right??? I think it’s the same pizza they have on the website, which makes me feel like I have superb photography skills. Anyway, it is really great, but I think it needed something like maybe more tomatoes or salt, and they dont serve the food with any of your standard pizza toppings.
Nicoletta (gelato with caramel sauce and pistachio brittle)
I could not help myself with putting up two pictures of this. It was just so good. They said the gelato was vanilla flavored, but I swear it had some marshmallow thing happening. Also, please note that it’s not a super large portion: they serve it in a regular size glass.