celebrating flag day

Which also happened to be my 31st birthday. We celebrated Friday night with dinner on the patio at Baricelli in Little Italy. Aside from a visit to the “cheese store” and purchasing a gift certificate, I’ve never been there. I didn’t know what to expect. I knew they would have the best cheese menu in town, but wasn’t sure how the food would fair. I’ve heard mixed things about this place. On one hand, Paul Minillo, the chef/owner, is always receiving rave reviews both locally and nationally and I have heard good things from friends who have been there. But then I have also heard negative reviews. My parents and a few others I know have told me about the pretentious atmosphere and the over priced food that was so so. But still -this is The Baricelli Inn, that sits so mysterious and intriguing on the corner of Murray Hill. The building alone is so beautiful. How could you not check it out and judge for yourself? When we got there, the hostess asked us if we wanted inside or out and we chose out. The inside dining room didn’t look like my taste from what I could see. They really did a nice job on the patio. Well covered, great background music and flowers and plantings all around that I can only hope our own landscaping mirrors someday. The server came up and brought us water and dropped off the wine list. She came back a few minutes later and took our drink order: a bottle of Jaffers Syrah. This turned out to be a great wine, which we actually saw at Miles Market this morning for 1/2 the price. Then another server came with bread. A few minutes later another server with olives. Finally, after sitting down for 15 minutes, our main server came back with the menu. Apparently they like to space things out. Which I’m sure most people think is nice. But I like to review the menu immediately so I was becoming impatient and wondering if they realize we have no menus. I read in the PD that they recently lowered their prices and offer 1/2 orders of pasta. The menu was a nice selection of appetizers, salads, seafood, a few meat options and pasta. I thought the prices were comparable to most of the restaurants in Ohio City and Tremont and thought the 1/2 pastas were very reasonable ($11 – $13). I started off with the parma ham salad (prosciutto, melon, arugula, fresh mozzarella and aged balsalmic) followed by a half order of the bucatini amatriciana. Part of me didn’t want to order pasta and try the ahi tuna special or scallops, but it’s been so long since I’ve had pasta, I couldn’t resist. And I was curious how their version compared to my favorite at Battuto across the street. The salad was fantastic – but how could it not be with prosciutto and melon on the same plate? And the pasta was equally as good. And the half order was all I needed. Anymore food and I would have ended up with a box. I still like Battuto’s version the best, but this one was not far behind. And instead of cake for dessert, my husband had the server bring out a cheese plate with a candle! He knows me so well. Two of the cheeses were delicious (my favorite was the St. Marie Ash if I remember correctly; the third was actually a bit spicy and I didn’t care for it. All in all it was a great birthday and a perfect evening.

2 Comments

  1. August
    Posted June 19, 2007 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    Oooh, my sister used to live right by this restaurant but we never ate there (she might have, I don’t know). Nice review. So, did you think it was pretentious and overpriced?

  2. michelle v
    Posted June 19, 2007 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    I didn’t think it was pretentious or overpriced. I thought the prices were similiar to other nice restaurants and the 1/2 pasta was very reasonable. I did think the wine list was procey, though. One one or two bottles priced under $40. We got a $55 bottle of wine (Jaffers Syrah) which we later saw at the market for $26! That’s ridiculous.