To better celebrate Restaurant Week and food festivals, in general, is to select those restaurants one might not be able to drum up the drachmas for, given the full price menu.
So, take advantage of the lower prix-fixe ($24.07 for lunch and $35 for dinner) to take a peek into an otherwise forbidden – or just out of reach – dining entertainment experience.
Make up a wish list of restaurant fantasies. Don’t hesitate – New York Restaurant Week runs just until February 10th. So many restaurants, so little time!
One of the top restaurants in Greenwich Village reopened not too long after a bit of a kitchen fire in the fall of 2011.
Il Cantinori was rustic, Tuscan Italian decades before this cuisine was award winning.
The restaurant long attracted a certain celebrity clientele and food aficionados.
Long ago, the restaurant discovered a winning elixir that blends a spectrum of attributes: formal and friendly, sophisticated and relaxed, classic and new.
The restaurant prides itself on serving generations of customers, having opened its doors in the Reagan administration. And remarkably, chef Antonio Cinardi is still at the helm.
The floral arrangements alone are enough to make diners swoon. The arrangement on the bar is a garden unto itself. In warm weather, the front holds an outdoor café on its diminutive patio terrace with floor to ceiling French doors sweeping into the front dining room with plenty of cozy seating located further back. The bar is the same dark wood as the walls and looks like it has a lot of stories to tell. The restaurant is like a private club but better.
The prix-fixe Restaurant Week menu was nicely brimming with a great selection of appetizers and entrees and desserts. No pinching here. Perusing the offerings one finds fish, chicken, meat and robust vegetable choices. The portions are all full sized too.
The wine was an excellent Montepulciano and came in a glass that was the size of a small fishbowl. Ditto the orange and cranberry juice blend.
The sautéed chicken livers on fennel appetizer was divine.
This reporter’s dining partner is allergic to alcohol, so she inquired if the filet of sole could be had without the white wine. She whispered somewhat confessionally, that she had to ask but didn’t think it was possible because the Restaurant Week recipes were probably already made up… The answer from our friendly, hospitable, and professional waiter? “No problem!” Emboldened, she then asked if she could make up for the wine with extra capers. Again, “No problem.” Wow. That’s accommodating.
The spinach stuffed raviolis were pillows of homemade pasta and light sauce that was too tasty.
Dessert was a choice of three confections. The hazelnut ice cream sandwich cake proved irresistible and two orders were promptly placed: in stereo. It was creamy, light and delicious with cappuccino and espresso finished the meal just this side of paradise.
Il Cantinori is a restaurant for grown ups – meaning one can enjoy a conversation, the food and the elegant, romantic ambiance without the strain of celebrity chefs or farm to table or rhetoric. At this restaurant, they’ve been there, done that.
Enjoy Il Cantinori during Restaurant Week — and save up to dine there the rest of the year.
32 East 10th Street