Restaurant Week at Maialino

It’s that time of year again! The time of year when I take a lot of half days at work and punch a further hole in my belt to make room for restaurant week lunching. This past Tuesday was my first summer RW meal and I had a reservation at Maialino. I looked online at the menu and was so excited to see their ever so famous chicken and fried artichokes being offered.

It was an absolute downpour when I made my way over and I arrived somewhat soaked. My friend was running late so I took a seat at the bar and watched the sheets of rain as it pummeled the outside. The restaurant was packed and when my friend showed up about 15 minutes later we were given a table in the back corner.

Now I’m going to admit our service was pretty shaky at first. We waited for well over five minutes before getting our menus and another 10 before ordering our wine. However we were 15 minutes late so I’m sure that affected their staggered seating technique. Then we had a little snafu with an incorrect wine but everything turned out okay after a send back.

With all of the confusion going on I hardly looked at the menu. I had already known online what I wanted and luckily my friend had the same exact ideas of things to share so as soon as she returned with the correct wine we put in our order.

First they started us off with a nice basket of bread. The airy pockets of dough were the perfect vessels for mopping up some seriously delicious olive oil and big grains of salt. Then out came our appetizers. First up the Smoked Swordfish.

This dish was fabulous. The smoky cool flavor of the fish went perfectly with the zesty pickled onions and slightly bitter mizuna. I really enjoyed this dish and about halfway through I realized why I liked it even more. The menu online had Robiolina instead of Mizuna as an accompaniment. While I love Robiolina cheese I think that would have dampened the light refreshing taste of this dish. This was a perfect appetizer for summer.

We also ordered the fried artichokes with anchovy bread sauce. I actually didn’t care too much for these. The anchovy sauce was tasty but the artichokes themselves kind of turned me off. Something about the fried crisp outside and warm mushy inside really bothered me texturally. I have some serious texture problems I know. I could see how people would love these however. Flavor wise spot on.

Onto the main courses, first up the Ricotta Ravioli.

Wow these ravioli were creamy little pillows of cheese goodness. The pasta shells were so light and fluffy I didn’t feel weighed down like I usually do from this hearty dish. It’s a good thing to since nothing was light about the rich decadent brown butter sauce. Oh my how I love brown butter and the addition of crispy sage just hit it out of the ball park for me.

Now onto my dish- the chicken.

Okay remember when I said I barely read the menu when ordering since I knew it from heart online? Well thank goodness I at least took a picture so I can now go back and know I’m not crazy.

The online RW menu has the Pollo Alla Diavola listed. The chicken dish Maialino is famous for and the one I was beyond excited to try out. What was brought to me was something very different. A breaded chicken cutlet.

I have to say I was a little crestfallen at first. This was definitely not the dish I had been expecting and I was upset. However a quick look at my menu picture confirmed that I should have read the given menu more clearly. While the online one has the Pollo Alla Diavola listed here it was changed to the Pollo Milanese.

So I guess it was my fault for not double checking and I was disappointed. Luckily the Pollo Milanese was very good. The breading had a wonderful mix of fresh herbs and the tangy dressing on the salad really gave it some pop. However I was expecting some crispy skin instead of breading so I still need to experience the Diavola.

For dessert we sampled some Olive Oil Cake and a Panna Cotta alla Salvia.

The desserts were okay but nothing really blew me away. The olive oil cake could have had a more pungent flavor like the olive oil cookies at Abraco and I found it a tad too dense.

The same could be said about the Panna Cotta. While I enjoyed the dessert it didn’t have that strong sage flavor as described on the menu as sage custard. I kind of wished I had tried out their gelato instead.

Overall we had a fantastic RW lunch. I’m still a little upset about the chicken dish but hopefully other people will actually read the menu rather than relying on the online one like me. The setting was laid back but lively, the food was tasty and the check was much, much less than it should have been.

After our lunch we enjoyed a nice little tour of the Theodore Roosevelt house on 20th street and then went next door for some drinks at my favorite place Gramercy Tavern. Not too shabby for a rainy Tuesday afternoon!


Two things I forgot to mention in the post.

1. They graciously give every diner at Maialino a $20 gift certificate for breakfast at Maialino in the future. It's only good Monday- Friday so I may not be able use it myself but I may give it to my parents when they come visit.

2. The Bathrooms. Unfortunately the bathroom experience was not great at Maialino. While the rooms are private, there are only two of them for the entire restaurant. This meant that I had to wait to go in and had a line waiting for me to come out. Also the bathrooms have no men/women distinction. Just two rooms with a communal sink. I'm not a fan of this style. I like my privacy and to me it just seems weird. To make matters even worse only one sink was in working condition. Sorry Danny, I love your places but this bathroom only gets 2 flushes from me.