Even though I had heard nothing but amazing things about The Cookery, I still was completely overwhelmed by the depth of flavors and unexpected notes in chef David DiBari’s dishes. From start to finish, the meal was comforting in its familiarity and yet enticing in its subtle twists on Italian classics.
Joining me for this meal last night was my mother — who was raised by Italian immigrants and knows a thing or two about Italian cuisine. (She loved the meal just as much as I did!) She started the night with two beautiful meatballs, served with a light tomato sauce and infused with plenty of parmigiano. These were the softest meatballs either of us had ever tasted.
I realized we were in for something special after the first bite of my appetizer — which caught me completely off guard. After all, I’ve eaten countless bowls of escarole and bean soup in my day. Yet just one spoonful of this hearty opener literally made me throw my eye-glasses to the table and exclaim: “Oh. My. God!” (Admittedly I tend to overreact from time to time, especially with food. But this was fully justified, I promise!)
The depth of flavor in this broth — which was thanks to the surprising bits of of braised pork mingling amongst tender beans and vegetables — was nothing short of perfect. Remember that scene in Pixar’s Ratatouille when the food critic is instantly transported to memories of his childhood after taking his first bite towards the end of the movie? Well, that’s sort of how I felt.
Our third appetizer was not on the HVRW menu, but you can find it on the regular dinner menu and I highly recommend that you give it a try. It was a little budino of cauliflower, which explodes in your mouth with its golden, roasted flavors, and is topped with a fried egg and tiny crumbles of pancetta fried in brown butter.
For my main course, I chose the radiatore (which are little pastas that look like radiators) with lamb bolognese. This is an excellent choice of pasta for a bolognese, since there are plenty of little crevices for the sauce to sneak into. The flavor of the lamb was such a nice departure from that of the more common beef, but what set this dish apart was the fresh mint infused throughout the dish. Lamb and mint make such a great pair.
My mother’s main course was the pork ossobucco. The pork shank had been braised perfectly, so tender that the meat literally melted right off the bone. Fried just before hitting the plate, the pork was topped with a delightful apple/mustard sauce and served over super creamy polenta. The chef drizzled a deglazed grape sauce to finish the dish.
Stuffed much? Yes. But there’s always room for dessert, right? I had one of my favorites — bread pudding. Served warm, this bread pudding was nice and sweet thanks to a generous amount of white chocolate and an anglaise that tasted as though it had also been lightly caramalized on top. Dense, moist, delish.
My mother had the pasta fritta, which essentially were fried ravioli filled with nutella and bananas. These were served with a cinnamon gelato.
Next time I go back (which hopefully is soon!) I must get this mozzarella, which is made daily:
Here’s the crostino of fresh ricotta, truffle honey and thyme:
The hanger steak with escarole and goose fat potatoes looked and smelled absolutely to die for:
Thanks to David and all the great cooks in the kitchen!