Wednesday, February 11, 2009


21. Falai
68 Clinton Street between Rivington and Stanton

Just across the street from Falai Panetteria is Falai, a small Italian restaurant with a décor that reminded me of an indoor pool; mostly white, small tiles on the floor. If not for the open kitchen and the bar I would have thought to bring swimming trunks. For all of the issues with the décor, I was gracious that the hostess let us sit at a table after we told her we just wanted to try the pappardelle. After being seated, we were offered a selection from the bread basket which included black cabbage rolls, onion rolls, and slices of rosemary-raisin bread. I guess we didn’t have to pick up the whole loaf across the street to get a taste. The black cabbage roll was forgettable but before we received our order, we were given an amuse bouche. Barley with a parmesan crisp with cauliflower soup poured over it. If I’ve learned anything from five seasons of Top Chef, it’s that an amuse bouche is supposed to be one bite. Not only was this more than one spoonful but I had a hard time getting it into the spoon. It tasted like a tater-tot that had been cooked for a third of the time required; falling apart such that not even the crisp could help after being drowned in the cauliflower. I’ll try the pappardelle now.

The waitress had informed us that the tarragon pappardelle from the TONY list was swapped out for a different pappardelle. We went with it. Thyme pappardelle with crimini mushroom ragu, ricotta and fig puree ($16). What’s nice about pappardelle is that it carries sauces well. Just like at Le Cirque, the pappardelle served as a fine transportation vehicle for the ragu placed on top. The mushrooms didn’t overwhelm the dish and the fig puree had an intense fruity flavor that went well with the mushrooms. The amuse bouche, the bread, the décor, eh. The pappardelle was worth the experience, though I’m not convinced the price is justified.

No comments:

Post a Comment