152 W 51st / 777 7th Avenue (In the Michel Angelo Hotel)
Web Site: http://www.restaurantinsieme.com/
Menu (Click for PDF File)
I don’t frequently do a lot of high-end restaurant meals — I’m more of the ethnic restaurant type or in the mid-range when I choose to dine out. But that doesn’t stop me from appreciating them, or at least following the high-end restaurant scene. One restaurant that has gotten my attention recently is Insieme, the brainchild of the very talented restaurant team of Marco Canora (formerly of Craft and Gramercy Tavern) and Paul Grieco (also of Gramercy Tavern) who also own another of my favorite restaurants, Hearth.
So when I heard that it was going to be opening up, I jumped at the chance to eat there, even if it was going to be rough around the edges its first several weeks or months of operation. Rachel, Spamwise and I headed over there last night and had an exceptional meal.
Look out Babbo and L’Impero… There’s a new kid in town. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.
The decor at Insieme is highly reminiscent of that at THE MODERN at MOMA, which is to say it has a minimalistic modernistic atmosphere. This was done as to not distract diners from the main star of the show, the food.
The concept behind Insieme (which means “Together” in Italian) is a restaurant built on two menus — one on the left (shown above) that reflects classic Italian dishes from all across the country, and one on the right hand side which reflects Marco Canora’s creative interpretations of those types of ingredients.
The right hand side of the menu.
Our first amuse, baby radishes filled with bagna cauda.
These are mini crostini with a goat cheese mixture.
The first wine I ordered was a glass of Gruner Veltliner, which had the perfect level of acidity for the fish dish I ordered as my appetizer.
Another amuse, a stracciatella (egg drop) soup in an intense beef and chicken broth.
This is a fish amuse which I’m calling “butterflies”. Essentially very thin slices of raw fish (crudo, the Italian analogue to sushi) decorated with microgreens.
FISH CRUDO. Salmon belly, Yellow Tail, Barron Point oyster and
Big Eye Tuna in three variations, which was my appetizer. I loved it.
VITELLONE CRUDO. Pasture-fed baby beef tartare with porcini mushrooms and lemon. Spamwise’s appetizer, I had a small taste of it and it was quite nice.
BEEF IN BRODO. Beef broth, wagyu beef, asparagus, star anise and La Tur raviolini. Rachel’s appetizer.
BLACK OLIVE FETTUCINE. Duck ragu and Fiore di Sardo. Spamwise’s middle course.
LASAGNE VERDI BOLOGNESE. Spinach pasta with béchamel and meat ragu. Rachel and I shared a main dish sized plate of this, I thought it was one of the knockout dishes of the evening. A traditional bolognese sauce takes several hours to make because it has to be low simmered in order to get the meat flavors to meld, as this one was.
While the restaurant had some noticeable service quirks (being the first two weeks of service its to be expected) our server was very friendly and attentive, and knowledgeable.
This is a pasta dish from the table next to us.
ARISTA di MAIALE ARROSTO con FAGIOLI. Roasted pork loin and tiny pork meatballs with Rancho Gordo beans, sage and garlic. My main dish, which I loved.
CHICKEN “FINOCCHIETTI ”. Organic breast, wing, liver and dumpling and fennel with crispy skin. Rachel’s main.
CACCIUCCO alla VIAREGGINA. Shellfish and fish stew with tomato, lemon and peperoncini, Spamwise’s main. I had a little dip of the sauce at the end with some bread, it had a very intense shellfish flavor.
A side of asparagus with parmigiano cheese. Blanched and then grilled, it was a very nice accompaniment to the meal.
This is the salmon dish from the couple next to us. Tasmanian king salmon with Spring salad, tarragon and salmon caviar.
BAMBOLINI. Small cream-filled yeast donuts with (intense) chocolate dipping sauce
HONEY YOGURT CREAM. With black olive-almond biscuits
and almond ice cream
GIANDUJA BAR. Chocolate with pistachio-hazelnut crust and orange sauce
Various petit fours.
Heading downstairs to the kitchen
Executive Chef/Owner Marco Canora
Pastry Chef Amadou Ly, who originates from Senegal in West Africa and was trained as a classical patissier in Paris.
Chef Amadou and his team prepping desserts in the pastry area.
A Baba Au Rhum dessert awaiting final preparations.