Friday, June 22, 2012

Segafredo: Classic Northern Italian Fare...Served In A Space Age Bachelor Pad!

By: Anne M. Raso

I recently trekked to new northern Italian moderately priced eatery Segafredo on the site of the long gone Lone Star Roadhouse at the corner of 13th Street and Sixth Avenue in the heart of Greenwich Village. While I pondered the fate of the 40-foot iguana that used to be on the roof of the Lone Star Roadhouse (which was rumored to have been sold to an outside art collector), I enjoyed the unique ambiance and luscious eats. The sleek modern room seems to have raised deep red velvet polka dots on the bar and banquettes--and gives off that mid century modern "space age bachelor pad" feel while being warm at the same time. There is no fear of a 1950s version of Hugh Hefner resplendent in a plum silk bathrobe coming out to seduce you with the sounds of Mantovani and a glass of merlot from this eatery's extensive wine list! Also, keep in mind that Segafredo is making a big name for themselves serving alcoholic after-dinner espresso beverages--we must try those someday when we can spare staying up a few extra hours due to nighttime caffeine intake!

I tried what the server told me was the most classic Northern Italian cocktail outside of the Bellini--and it was simply called Spritz ($12). The Spritz is a mixture of the super-bitter Aperol, Tiziano prosecco, club soda, olives & orange garnish. While refreshing, I have to say this is for the most sophisticated of palettes--those who love very bitter cocktails. I am going to give it a second try on my next visit to Segafredo and see if I have "grown up" enough to like it. Drinks like this are all the rage in Venice--just after that city's beloved Bellinis. My friend tried the aptly named 6th Ave ($12) consisting of Skyy Pineapple Vodka, Limoncello, muddled fresh pineapple and ginger ale. She gave it the thumbs up--saying that it was not too sweet (as most pineapple drinks are) and was truly refreshing on a 97-degree day! It was yellow and inviting as sunshine.

We shared the Fried Artichoke appetizer ($8). Interestingly enough, the portion basically consists of four lightly fried hearts--they are very crispy on the outside but there is no coating (it just seems that way due to the crispiness of the leaves).  The plat is lightly drizzled with a lemon saffron aioli that was something I'd like to drizzle on everything from other veggies to salads to even ice cream from now on. It was THAT good!
Fried Artichokes
We shared two entrees: the super-classic northern Italian everyday dish Chicken Milanese and Bistecca ($24).  The chicken Milanese was covered with arugula, wild greens and red onions that tasted like they were grown next door and just picked within the last hour. The chicken was extra juicy white meat and the outer coating was fried to a medium tenderness--very often restaurants tend to overfry but this was "magnifico"! It was served with some beautiful baked garlic cloves. 
Chicken Milanese
The Bistecca is actually a hangar steak--we had it served medium and the charcoal taste and beautiful grill marks were a nice touch. It came with perfectly sautéed broccoli rabe, Yukon Gold potatoes and a balsamic drizzle! It was an eight to 10 ounce portion--just the right size!
For dessert, we got the cheesecake ($11), which was unlike any we have had before. There really was no "cake" or graham cracker crust--it was more like a cheesecake mousse with the interesting touch of caramel malt dusting on the plate! This dust is referred to as a "caramel crumble" on the menu, but it definitely has more of a powdery texture. It had lovely strawberry compote on to. 
The White Chocolate Bread Pudding ($10) almost tasted like it was made with a hint of ginger, but it wasn't. It is simply brioche, croissants and white chocolate baked together and topped with homemade vanilla gelato. It was served hot--and a joy to behold. It almost looked like a large white rosebud!
White Chocolate Bread Pudding
This is actually a chain restaurant, with this location being the only NYC franchise. Hats off to the chef. This is classic northern Italian fare--and as a result, do not expect any pasta dishes to be served (just risotto)! Just say yes to Segafredo--you'll love their young, lively staff as much as you'll love the food! Don’t forget that they are open for breakfast and brunch, too!

504 6th Avenue
New York, NY 10011 
Photos: Anne M. Raso / Susan Blond Inc.
 Segafredo Zanetti Espresso on Urbanspoon

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