Tag Archives: west village

Dell’Anima Still Rocks

Dell’ Anima is a small place along a portion of 8th Ave right before 8th Ave gets ugly.  It’s always busy, which might be why it opened a wine bar next door.  There is a high-top counter along the open kitchen which is a great place to ponder why you can’t eat pasta every night.  This place was the subject of my first blog post, so it’s been around awhile, but is still doing fantastic, swerving simple but slightly upscale Italian food with a solid wine list and KILLER cocktails.. Try the roasted orange negroni. On this particular night, we sampled a seafood stew (continuing my obsession) and split the pasta carbonara.  See the egg yolk, just waiting to be broken?  So good.

Dell’Anima, 38 8th Ave, West Village.  For more info visit their website.


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Bloodies and Moules

It’s almost sacrilege that I haven’t paid my respects to the bloody mary at Ditch Plains and Landmarc (they’re sister restaurants).  It’s a triumph.  First, it’s served in a pint glass.  When I order a bloody, I’m looking for a nice meaty drink to sink my teeth into over time, to savor the crunch celery and the pickled vegetables and the spice.  I can only drink one, and I’d like it to be in this pint glass, so we can bond.

Two, it’s deliciously spicy.  I don’t know what they put in it, but the seasoning is plentiful and excellent.  There is lots of black pepper.  It goes nicely with the healthy serving of pickled veggies that I get with my Ditch Plains bloody.  It’s like V-8 juice.  I feel good about myself, but maybe that’s the bloody talking.

Third, it goes spectacularly well with moules frites, and I staunchly stand behind the moules frites offered at Ditch Plains and Landmarc.  Sure, you could order the Ditch Dog and choke on the fact that you just ate a mac’n’cheese covered hot dog (ok, it’s so good, and you only choke if you eat two), but you would miss the beauty of the mussels. They offer different sauces, and I never order the classic white wine and shallots.  Oh no.  I go for the curry or the dijonnaise.  The curry when I’m feeling exotic, and the dijonnaise when I’m feeling not-exotic.  The mussels are always large and luscious, piled wonderfully high in the cast-iron Staub, steaming when I lift the heavy lid.  I like to pluck half of the mussels from their shells, dropping them into the fragrant sauce and letting them get even juicier while I play speedracer with the ultra crispy French fries.  Oh man.  The mix of mayo+ketchup with a salty, crispy French fry is in my top five favorite bites ever.  I conclude that after exhaustive testing, mostly at the bar at Ditch Plains on a lazy Sunday afternoon, with someone else’s NY Times and that sweet Southern bartender.

DITCH PLAINS, Bedford and Downing Sts, West Village.  Visit ditchplains.com for more info.

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I have a restaurant crush on…

Dell’Anima.  I dined there Monday night with my friend Nicole, who hinted that I might fall in love with the place.  She was right.  I realize I have a type when it comes to favorite spots.  It is this: unfussy, laid-back vibe, nice people,  with food I could eat every night, but can’t really execute myself.  I’m a big fan of perfect execution.  That said, I ate at the chef’s counter and saw precision in action.  Watching these guys (and one very cool girl) produce dinner for me and everyone else in the place was really fun.  For those who don’t want to see the substantial amount of butter used in the sauce to make ricotta ravioli and almost every other pasta on the menu, or if you have an aversion to smelling a little like roasted garlic when you leave, there are tables in the front and dining at the bar.  Dell’Anima reminds me of Lupa in terms of simplicity and the focus on seasonal ingredients, but it’s smaller and the menu easier (while it only offers 4 entrees, it does have 9 pastas on the menu).  It’s a fantastic place for a date, or for an intimate dinner with friends.  This place is a keeper!  Here’s the breakdown:

COCKTAILS: A really beautiful Roasted Orange Negroni ($12) and an ever-refreshing Aperol Spritz ($8).  For those who don’t know Aperol, stay tuned as I plan on devoting a chapter to the awesomeness of the spritz. 

WINE: Barbera “Vigna Clara,” Viberti 1996 from Piemonte ($13).  I was perplexed by its cloudiness when my server poured it, but in fact it was a really nice full-bodied barbera with a dry finish.  They offer a good selection of wines by the glass and an extensive bottle list. 

EATS: Avocado bruschette was like Italian guacamole- mashed avo with lots of lemon and sicilian olive oil spread over toast. Super fresh.

Arugula salad with lemon and shaved parmigiano-reggiano. This was only ok, and I can’t believe I’m going to say this but the salad was over-cheesed.  When you can’t taste the spiciness of arugula, there’s a problem.  And I don’t think it was the arugula. 

Ricotta ravioli was formerly the “secret dish” at Dell’Anima, but they’ve since added it to the menu.  The raviolis look like plump pillows in a simple sauce of olive oil, butter- more than you want to believe, cracked black pepper, and finished with pecorino.  It’s indulgent and addictive, but that’s the only one we tried.  Nicole wasn’t into ordering every pasta on the menu so I had to content myself with pasta observation: tagliatelle bolognese, the risotto, orecchiette, and garganelli all caused severe watering of the mouth.

Entrees: hake, a delicious flaky white fish (that I sadly never see on any menu) seared and served over juicy artichokes and tuna bresaola, the latter which seemed more like plate decoration than anything of culinary worth, and the chicken “al diavolo.”  The chicken was a killer version served over wilted spinach, spiced perhaps with paprika or cayenne, and notable for a good crispy skin and super moist meat.

Dessert: Espresso Almond cake with sweet cream gelato and candied almonds.  This was really damn good. Almost incredibly so.

INFO: www.dellanima.com

38 Eighth Ave nr Jane St

.Bruschette- Avocado with Sicilian Olive OilRicotta-filled Pillows of Love

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