As an emigre from the greater Metropolitan area, having been raised in PLFD, a town of 50K just outside of Newark, home once to Mack trucks and J.P. Stevens and, hence, a magnet for supposed jobs for folks from NC who, finding themselves barred from gainful employment, were victimized by the PO-lice , I have always had a hankering for whatever brings me back to times that seemed more heartfelt than now. Now the senses are made dull by fear and experience, denial and transcendence, the flood of the past and the all too certain future. Back then, home was race riots in ’67 and mom, from East NY, Brooklyn, and dad, kind of Brooklyn and Manhattan, the ferocity of daily life evident in the smallest gesture.
So, anyhoo, as mom would say, let’s talk about three days of dining in NYC.
First up was Locanda Verde. Is it getting even better or am I just in a good mood since I sold my book? Both probably. The first lunch courses of snap peas and in-house cotechino were really delicious. Simple seasonal flavors in the first and deep bites and wonderful textures in the second. Dude cooked up his version of eggplant parm for my main course. Served with little chick peas in a tiny dish. Wonderful, long seeded roll. Thinly sliced eggplant with the breadcrumbs on the veg, but not the purple perimeter.
Dinner was Esca, of course. I say of course because I love this restaurant. Soulful, intelligent food served by low-key wait staff that is really pleasant. We’re talking two flights of spoonfuls of raw, seasonal fish followed by shad roe and pickled vegetables.