Locanda Verde Review: Locanda Verde and my grits fascination
Grits are my weakness the same way OTB is the crutch of degenerate gamblers. You know you’re spending too much money on something you shouldn’t. But it feels so good! Unlike some diseases that might rot you from the inside out, my grits habit simply burns a hole in my wallet. A hole made out of corn byproduct that isn’t even real corn kernels. It’s like… leftover corn. It’s almost never a good deal to get grits outside but I never think of to make it at home. When Steph and I were at Locanda Verde, it was difficult to pass up “Scampi and Grits,” which came with organic polenta, tomato, sausage, and coddled eggs ($17). I’m not sure how you coddle eggs but it sounded good. The word ‘grits’ may sound rough, but the consistency of these grits was smooth and creamy. The tomatoes, shrimp, and sausage is a very classic combination and here they were a melodic concerto of awesome. The coddle eggs featured runny yolk to present a richness to some bites that was welcoming. Yes. I’m a degenerate grits fanatic. I need help.
Another thing that I find difficult to resist is tripe. Few places offer it and fewer people like eating it. The menu called it 8 Hour Tripe ($15), which was promising because you figure with a braise like that, the tripe would be soft. Chewy tripe is not sexy at all, and it probably turns people off from tripe. The good thing about Italian preparations of tripe is that it’s generally not as in-your-face as tripe you encounter at dim sum. There’s generally some tomato based sauce there to help mask the honeycomb lattices. I’ve had a preparation of it where all you taste is garlic and butter. At Locanda Verde, the sauce isn’t so overpowering. They stuck with the theme of throwing an egg on top. I could do with or without the egg honestly. It really made no difference to me because all I wanted was the tripe.
While Steph and I were enjoying these two dishes, we realized there would be some sauce left on the plate. Listen, when there’s $17 dollar sauce left on your plate, you want to soak it up with some bread. We asked for some and they came out freshly toasted. It was pretty nice I have to say. Later on, I noticed on the check they listed bread as a $0 item on the receipt. I wonder if bread is always free or if it’s only with orders of tripe or grits.
To wrap up the meal, there was the shaved porchetta sandwich. Words aren’t enough to describe the satisfaction from a sandwich where the pork juices were soaked in the bottom bun. The pork was succulent and it really hit the spot. It came with a side of some green rabbit food and that was good too, as far as fiber goes. Of the three dishes, this was by far the most substantial (read: it came with carbs). It’s easy to recommend any of these three dishes. Lots of other things look good on the menu although they all suffer the same Tribeca-ish price tag.
Now for some other shit. Tell me if this bothers you. You go into a restaurant even though you’re not super hungry, you just wanna try one thing that was talked about or someone suggested to you. So you sit down. You know what you want to order. And when you do order, the server is pushy about ordering an app or getting a drink. To me there’s a very delicate balance here. Maybe as a server, you want to let the customer know that portion sizes at the restaurant is diminutive. Fine. Great. As a customer, I just feel like the server is disappointed that I’m not ordering more. This obviously didn’t happen at Locanda Verde, since we ordered three entrees for two people. But what do you think about this? Are servers sometimes too pushy and do they discriminate when your order creates a small tab? Is a restaurant more about serving the needs of the workers who make a living? Or of those who go to eat?
Locanda Verde377 Greenwich Street .New York, NY 10013212-925-3797
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