Maialino is my ideal type of Italian restaurant. It’s cozy, homey, elegant, very unpretentious and the food is stellar. From coat check to hostess to server, the staff is super attentive without making you aware that you are in Zagat’s best new restaurant.
Admittedly, there isn’t an overwhelming variety of vegetarian options, but there’s definitely four or five pastas and two or three appetizers and, of course, plenty of sides. Whatever they do offer for vegetarians is delectable and a few of the other options can be made vegetarian. For my starter, I had the escarole salad with hazelnuts, grapes and pecorino cheese. The dressing was creamy but light and slightly acidic. But we are really here to talk about the pasta; for my entree, I had the Raviolo al Uovo – one big ravioli filled with ricotta and chives. It’s cooked in brown butter, but the best part of the whole thing is that the ravioli is filled with a perfectly poached egg yolk that oozes out and creates a sauce for the pasta. YUM! It’s not a huge portion though, so if you are ordering this, definitely think about an appetizer or side. To finish off, I had the quince sorbet. Perfectly refreshing, soft and just slightly sweet. A perfect end to a meal. Though the prices aren’t exuberant, it’s definitely pricier than your average Italian joint. Well worth it though.
Additional note: though I’m no wine connoisseur, I do appreciate the selection here. It’s not all Pinot Grigios, Chardonnays and Chiantis. There’s definite thought that went into the wine list and there’s a lot of varietals that you don’t typically see. I especially appreciated that the server came to inform my party that several bottles of the wine we ordered had been spoiled and that the staff suspected that it was a bad case. Our server brought us something else based on what we ordered initially and it was really good.
Gramercy Park Hotel
2 Lexington Ave (near 21st Street)