Monday, February 1, 2016

A Warm Meal for a Snowy Day at Il Valentino Osteria

By: Finance Foodie

Since the streets of New York have been a snowy mess of late, the Mister and I were reluctant to travel long distances from our apartment for dinner (stepping in dark pools of melted sludge at night would make anyone hesitant). Therefore, the other night we decided to check out Il Valentino Osteria, a local Italian resto that just opened up on the corner of 59th and 1st ave. Seeing the extensive pasta and pizza options on the menu and the fact we were both in the mood for something warm and carby loaded, this choice made perfect sense.
Exterior: Source Il Valentino Osteria

The restaurant is nice and cozy on the inside, with its warm wood tables and its fiery brick pizza oven roaring in the back – the quintessential definition of a neighborhood spot. The Mister, who was feeling guilty of missing several of his weekly spin classes, decided to go the healthy route to start with the Rape Rosse ($11), a spinach salad made with beets, honey, walnuts, and goat cheese. The salad was generously portioned and the sweetness of the honey and beets melded very well with the richness of the goat cheese and walnuts.
Rape Rosse
I, on the other hand, was feeling splurgy and decided to go with one of the small sized homemade pastas as my appetizer (the entrée pastas come in two sizes). To be honest, I wanted to try them all but for the sake of my waist line, I decided to go with the Pasta Nera con Gamberi e Asparagi ($17 sm/$22 lg), which was a delicious black tagliolini with shrimp, asparagus, and tomatoes. What I liked most about this dish (besides the generously oversized shrimp) was that it was surprisingly light. The pasta was flavored using the juices of the tomato which made the dish flavorful yet not overbearingly rich, despite the hearty helping of pasta. Of course, this only served to whet my appetite for my main.
Pasta Nera con Gamberi e Asparagi
The Mister quickly snapped out of his health mode (probably after seeing my Pasta Nera) and ordered the large portion of the Linguini Mare e Monti ($16 sm/$21 lg), an egg pasta dish consisting of aforementioned generously oversized shrimp and mushrooms in a white wine sauce. Just a quick note here - when the menu says small, it means large and when it says large, it means HUGE! The large bowl of pasta was so good the Mister basically licked his plate clean.
Linguini Mare e Monti
For my main, I took a crack at their all-encompassing pizza menu and tried the Carbonara ($19). I love me some Carbonara pasta but this is the first time I’ve had it in pizza form. The pizza was large enough to feed two (or three) and the generous portion of prosciutto made this dish a real winner. I only wish that the egg was more spread out on the pizza – the fried egg that sat in the center was cooked a bit too firm to really let the flavors run out.
Carbonara pizza
Since the portions were so robust, we did not have any appetite for dessert (though the Nutella Berry pizza sounded heavenly). I’m glad I discovered this little gem in my neighborhood and look forward to going back again to cross off more of the menu from my list!

Il Valentino Osteria
1078 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10022
(212) 784-0800
Cuisine: Italian

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