Arguably the best part of a family birthday celebration is going out for a festive and slightly more extravagant than usual meal. With mine and my father’s birthdays just around the corner (we were born on the same day) I’ve been enthusiastically sifting through all the possibilities for our annual feast. In a city like New York, there’s always a restaurant of the moment, and many more compiling a lengthy dining bucket list. Usually, I try and pick somewhere new. Not a place that’s too trendy, fancy or foodie, but somewhere new and exciting for the whole family to enjoy.
Locanda Verde, however, is the exception. While birthdays are a good excuse to go somewhere new, they are also the time to enjoy your favorites and the Andrew Carmellini owned restaurant is one of mine. Locanda Verde is not a new establishment nor a world renowned New York classic but to get a reservation here you still need to call a month ahead. Until my upcoming dinner plans this weekend, I’ve never actually snagged a coveted reservation, but have waited for hours patiently and eaten at the bar time and time again.
What’s all the fuss about you may ask? Well, frankly the food at Locanda Verde is just damn good. The restaurant straddles the fine line between homey and indulgent and the food served here does the same. It’s the sheep’s milk ricotta however that keeps me coming back. Decadent and light at the same time, the appetizer is serious simple and incredibly good. Served whipped with sea salt and herbs and accompanied by a slightly burnt orange flavored toast, the cheese plate is undoubtedly any evening spent here’s shining star.
Though I had multiple reservations for Sunday’s birthday around town, it is this indulgent delight that once again swayed my mind. Now the only problem is I have to salivate for four days until I can enjoy…
Locanda Verde, 377 Greenwich Street, 212 925 3797, Mon-Sun 8AM-11PM, mealtimes vary by day
To make your own, adapted from Urban Italian by Andrew Carmellini :
- 2 cups sheep’s milk ricotta
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon fleur de sel or course sea salt
- 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano, on the branch if possible
- 2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- toasted bread for serving
- optional: figs, olives or truffles for topping
- Beat the ricotta and milk together until the mixture is light and fluffy in a stand mixer on medium speed or in a bowl with a whisk. Add table salt and mix well
- Place mixture in serving bowl. Sprinkle with fleur de sel, pepper, thyme and oregano. Top with olive oil, which will settle on and around the cheese. Serve with toasted bread and top with sliced figs or olives or shaved truffles
*the recipe says it’s meant for six but with how good this stuff is I can hardly imagine it’s enough for one