Image Courtesy of Zio Ristorante
Some time ago, I went out to dinner at Zio Ristorante with my fiancé. Located in the meatpacking district, Zio is a charming and welcoming restaurant, with warm décor, high ceilings, a grand entrance and spacious rooms. The staff and the service they provide is impeccable and one of the best I’ve encountered in New York. The kitchen is open so if your seat position allows it, you can watch the chefs at work. Did I mention the reason we went here is because I found out Anthony Bourdain dined here with his wife. Sal and I are both incredible fans of his and even took a trip up to Montreal this summer inspired by an episode of Parts Unknown. So in our family, if it’s good enough for Anthony, it’s good enough for us (except for blood sausage, I wouldn’t eat that).
Back to our experience at Zio, after we were seated our waiter brought a fresh bread basket and a small dish of red pesto, a mixture of sundried tomatoes, olive oil and seasonings. It was delicious and gone in less than 3 minutes. As a side note – there seem to be a lot of those in this post – I’ve noticed that most restaurants, especially the Italian establishments, have stopped bringing bread and olive oil to the table as a starter. I’m not sure why this is happening, but I’m definitely not a fan of it. It’s always ideal to munch on something warm and tasty while you peruse the menu.
As an appetizer Sal and I shared the Riso Al Salto con L’osso – a crunchy saffron risotto cake, bone marrow and gremolada sauce. Absolutely exquisite! Sal hates bone marrow which meant there was more for me. It was juicy, fatty, and succulent, everything you could ever want bone marrow to be. Extra perk, the waiter was kind enough the wrap the bone for us to take home to Khaleesi (our little pup) who loved it as much as her mama did!
Image courtesy of Zio Ristorante
For entrees we shared the Agnello (for me) and the Branzino Selvatico (for him). The Agnello consisted of almond crusted rack of lamb, Swiss chard ravioli in a goat cheese & sage fondue sauce. As a girl who thinks ravioli should be served with every dish, I found this pairing to be amazing! The ravioli- soft and flavorful, was served in a creamy sauce with an earthy, meaty aftertaste. The lamb chops were perfectly cooked, crunchy and salty on the outside, but soft and tender on the inside.
The branzino was fresh and delicious. I had never tried the artichoke caponata before- a blend of kalamata olives and artichokes served with olive oil and garlic- but definitely enjoyed it. Sal loves artichokes like I love bone marrow, so he had a major R-rated experience with the caponata.
For dessert we ordered the Tiramisu and the chef’s special, the Amaretto Crème brûlée.They were both good but the crème brûlée was superb, divine, mouthwatering, and all other words you can use to describe something delectable. With every bite I took I got sadder and sadder because I knew I was closer to the end. If you go and have to choose just one dessert, ask if they’re serving this and have some. You’re welcome! Definitely make some time to stop by this gem. I think good Italian restaurants are hard to find, even in this city and this place is definitely one of the better choices. Now they’re even on Seamless Web, so you can order the Agnello from your computer… in fact maybe that’s what I’ll have for lunch today.