For this week’s review, I paid a visit to Caffè Storico, the new eatery inside the New-York Historical Society. It’s a gorgeous restaurant, all white and marble, and seemingly influenced by Dutch modernism and American colonialism. Yet the grub’s from neither ilk — it’s Italian, with a slight Venetian influence. Most of the food from chef Jim Burke is very good, though the pastas are the menu’s true standouts, a good deal more inventive and tastier than the mains. Here’s how to carboload your way to happiness there.
1. Cavatelli with lobster and black trumpet mushrooms. Hello, yumminess. Probably my fave of the eight pastas on the menu. Think of it as a bit of surf and turf over noodles. The lobster — of which there’s actually an ample portion — is sweet and tender, while the mushrooms lend an earthy quality.
2. Artichoke mezzaluna. The tricky thing about mezzaluna and other ravioli-like stuffed pastas is that the fillings are regularly, well, all filler. That’s fortunately not the case here; these little half-moons are bursting with finely minced fresh artichokes, and sauced with a lemony butter sauce and garnished with porcini mushrooms. Another must-order.
3. Pappardelle with duck ragu. This is a dish you’ll find at many Italian restaurants throughout the city, but this version is pure winter comfort food. Although I’ve heard complaints that it’s been too chocolaty, the times I sampled it, I detected only a hint of cocoa underscored by orange zest.
4. Garganelli with cauliflower, pine nuts, and bottarga di muggine. One of the heftier, creamier pastas on the menu — for when you seriously want to pack on the pounds. I didn’t discern a lot of bottarga in this one, but the hand-shaped noodles have a great chew. Don’t underestimate its richness; you’ll need to share it among friends.
5. Mozzarella in carrozza. This is basically a fried mozzarella cheese sandwich. Need I say more?
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on February 22, 2012