This is my second time dining with Jeff this month. I only say this because the first time was at 15 East (link) when I actually had dinner with Marc Masumoto (link). Jeff sat at the opposite end of the bar and his girlfriend overheard our conversation. When Jo-Ann (the owner) came out to speak with us, he noticed again. When Always Hungry NY started following me on Digg, I e-mailed Jeff and asked him along to a meal. He told me how he knew what I was up to, and the rest is history.
It was freezing cold and raining when I arrived at 9PM on a Sunday night and the place was JAM-PACKED. I was fully expecting just about every restaurant in the city to be empty on a night like tonight, but I had to wait in their wine bar for my table to be ready. I love this space – it’s super swanky, very homey, low-ceilings, I feel like I am in someone’s apartment. Ir’s a great place to take your mistress. I’m pretty sure you can order the full menu of Al Di La in this cozy space.
Jeff arrives and is seated, I come up from the wine bar and we start with the Farro Salad (above) and the White Vegetable Salad (pic). The white vegetable salad is light and crisp with a nice peppery flavor, but the farro salad was a-w-e-s-o-m-e awesome. I’d read the reviews on it before and they were stellar. Jeff talked about how this stuff is all the rage with the Celiac crowd. This was my favorite part of the meal. I really loved the combination of the farro, the roasted cauliflower and the (wait for it) goat cheese. Did I mention it was awesome? Worth the trip if you come here and only get this.
For our mid course, we had two stuffed pastas, the Casunziei (pic) and the Tortelli Di Zucca Burro E Salcia Zuppa (pic). The beets in the casunziei were interesting; the poppyseeds added a curious crunch. The zuppa is 100% confirmed the best squash-filled pasta I’ve ever eaten, and it was only my second favorite thing here. If I were presented with the option, would drink the sage brown buttter sauce straight. It might be better mixed with Makers, but I’ll never know.
For our entrees, I had the Galletto Alla Diavola (pic – roast chicken) and Jeff ordered the Trotter. I didn’t know what I was expecting with the trotter and loved the stuffing inside. The chicken was kind of olivey and tart for me; it was the only thing about the meal I wasn’t super impressed with.
The desserts were both great. The Chocolate Giandiotto (pic) is a house made ice cream with hazelnuts and a smooth whipped cream. Jeff wasn’t in the mood for ice cream, so he didn’t even try it, but I liked it. The standout, however was the Frittole (above); fried dough and ricotta accompanied by chocolate sauce and whipped cream to dip. We both adored this confection. If you don’t usually order dessert, order it here and order this.
After the meal, I understood why it was packed on a cold, rainy Sunday evening. I love this place. Makes me wish I still lived in Park Slope.
Jeff and I rap about Al Di La and websites:
Guest Writer: Jeff Zalaznick
The IRL Arts Foundation and The Wandering Foodie thank Al Di La Trattoria for providing this meal.
Al Di La Trattoria
248 5th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11215