Discover the true taste of Rome in the heart of New York City at Danny Meyer’s spectacular trattoria Maialino.
New Yorkers are known for their exceptionally high expectations when it comes to dining out. Therefore, running a successful restaurant in New York City requires an exceptional menu, a world-class wine list and nerves of steel. Italian cuisine is one of the most popular ethnic foods in America, and dishes such as pizza, pasta and chicken parmesan have become firmly ingrained in the American culture. However, the desire for a more authentic Italian experience has led to the creation of a number of upmarket restaurants offering more traditional Italian fare. One such restaurant is Maialino in Manhattan that focuses on tantalizing flavors from the heart of Rome.
Maialino restaurant is housed in the luxurious Gramercy Park Hotel on Lexington Avenue. Opened in 2009 as part of New York restaurateur Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group, this bustling trattoria consists of a lively front bar, dining area, bread and salumi stations and a spacious private dining area. The large wooden bar and rustic décor is the perfect backdrop to Chef Nick Anderer’s Roman-inspired menu. Alongside hearty Italian dishes such as a truly authentic spaghetti alla carbonara, Maialino offers tantalizing bar snacks in the shape of pork crackling served with a spicy vinegar dip or bite-size bacon paninis. Maialino welcomes guests for breakfast, lunch and dinner starting from 7:30am on weekdays and serves up a spectacular brunch from 10:00am on weekends.
Perhaps the main problem with dining at Maialino’s is the temptation to fill up on starters. The antipasti menu contains treats such as fried artichokes with a delicate lemon sauce and a delectable fontina fondue served with white truffles and a drizzle of olive oil. No visit to Maialino is complete without sampling the restaurant’s signature dish of Maialino al forno (roasted suckling pig) complete with a delicious crispy skin flavored with rosemary and fennel atop a bed of roasted potatoes. In previous years, one portion of the roast pig could easily feed a table of three, so solo diners were forced to choose another dish or risk cardiac arrest. Thankfully, the kitchen now offers individual portions of its specialty.
Other appetizing main courses include the salt-baked sea bass served with funghi trifolati and the melt in the mouth veal porterhouse with sweetbreads and salsa verde. The roasted Brussels sprouts sprinkled with anchovies make the perfect accompaniment to the entrees. The octopus dish also is equally mouth watering and appealing to the eye before touching the palate.
If by some miracle you have room for dessert, opt for the rich and decadently sweet olive oil cake topped with a scoop of ice cream. Fans of traditional Italian sorbet are spoiled for choice with flavors such as mixed berry, grapefruit Campari and honeycrisp apple. Even with its exquisite menu and celebrity clientele including President Barack Obama, Maialino is surprisingly well priced. Apart from the suckling pig which comes in at $72 for two or three people, the rest of the menu is what you would expect of any upscale Manhattan restaurant. The extensive all-Italian wine list contains some marvelous finds starting at around $40 a bottle, but be sure to consult one of the many sommeliers gliding through the restaurant to help you find the perfect food and wine pairing.
Gramercy Park Hotel
2 Lexington Avenue (21st Street),
Breakfast: Monday to Friday – 7:00am to 10:00am
Brunch: Saturday and Sunday – 10:00am to 2:00pm
Lunch: Monday to Friday – 12:00pm to 2:00pm
Dinner: Sunday to Thursday – 5:30pm-10:30pm & Friday/Saturday 5:30pm – 11:00pm
Bar: Monday to Friday – 7:00am to 12:00am and from 10:00am Saturday and Sunday.