We live very close to Little Italy in New York City. Little Italy is a busy, touristy area with hawkers out in front of the restaurants pressuring passersby to eat dinner in their establishment. Most of the places are almost interchangeable because they all have menus serving the same Italian-American classics. We have eaten at a couple of places when we have family in town, but we are never sure where to go because they all blur together. Once we tried asking an old-timer from the neighborhood which restaurants were the best and he refused to answer the question. We asked which ones to avoid, and he replied, "I don't know you. I don't know who you know." He went on to explain that there are a lot of "wise guys" in Little Italy and he didn't want it getting around that he was suggesting one restaurant or bad mouthing another. I think of the mob as a thing of the past; something that died away in the 1960s or 70s. Is it still around today? I don't know, but it was fascinating to hear the old-timer's concerns. Just in case, I'm not going to say anything negative, but I will give a recommendation.
Last night we got home from work, and the apartment was hot as Hades. Neither one of us could imagine cooking, so we decided to go out. A friend of ours has been harassing us to try Angelo's and last night we acquiesced and gave it a try. We ended up sitting in a funny little room in the back, it was a little tight, but it was fine. The service was impeccable and the food was even better. I wish I had photos of our meal, but we were sans camera last night and the cell phone pictures just didn't do the food justice (the phone cameras don't do well in low light).
We started with Carpaccio Veneziana which included thin slices of raw fillet of beef served on a bed of arugula dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette, capers and generous curls of Parmesan cheese. The combination of peppery arugula, the tangy capers and the pungent flavor of the cheese with the paper thin slices of tender beef was amazing. We chose Rigatoni Del Montannaro for our pasta course. This dish is a Wednesday night special and was described as rigatoni with sausage and wild mushrooms in a special sauce. The waiter came out with two large bowls for us; it was hard to believe that this was a single serving split in half. Ahh, heaven in a bowl. It turns out that the special sauce included tomatoes, cream and cognac. It reminded me of a really good vodka sauce. Delicious! For the meat course we chose the Scaloppine di Vitello Caprese. The thin slices of veal sauteed with asparagus, zucchini and artichoke hearts were lovely and fresh. I was stuffed by this point, and it was a hard for our taste buds to appreciate the delicate flavor after the big showy flavor of the tomato cream sauce with sausage and wild mushrooms. I could only eat three bites of the meat course and then I had to take the rest home. I packed up the leftovers over lettuce for today's lunch and it was fabulous. I ate it cold and the artichoke flavor really came through.
Angelo's gets an A. It's a great place to go for a treat.