Torrisi Italian Specialties Review: Torrisi Italian Specialties has awesome food
I’m still editing pictures from Seattle, which is why you’re getting a picture of blue skies and the ocean. When the weather is nice up there in the Pacific Northwest, the outdoor stuff is pretty ridiculous. Meanwhile, let’s talk about some awesome food that was consumed during the hell that was Steph and my apartment hunt. The lunch at Torrisi Italian Specialties is one of the best deals for a special lunch that you can get out there for lunch right now. When we went, it was $60 dollars. You might scoff at the notion of a $60 dollar lunch, but like I said, it’s a good deal as a special lunch.
I think diners often fall into this trap of, “For a special meal, it has to be at dinner.” That’s a silly notion at best. If anything, we all function better earlier in the day compared to later in the day. There was a study on judge’s decisions on parole hearings, and how the decisions were more likely to be favorable to a prisoner earlier in the day than later in the day. The only thing that changed the stats was whether or not the judges got a snack. Go read about it on the Guardian. This just goes to show that as the day goes on, your body starts to use the fuel it has and when fuel gets low, the body automatically doesn’t respond well. So why would you want to let an entire day to go by, whereby any number of stressful work-related activities might derail your good mood? See, silly. Special lunches should happen more often than not.
Since Torrisi Italian Specialties changes their menu often, I can’t speak to whether the menu will still have this warm mozzarella when you decide to go (so please consult their current menu before making your own decision). If they do have it though, you are really in for a treat. It’s one of those things where when you eat it, you realize the supermarket variations simply are no match. This came with some bread but you can easily eat it straight up with no bread.
See, even their toast looks amazing. And all this is just part one of seven of the entire meal. You’ll see… you get a lot for $60.
The next portion of the appetizer was some raw fish. Supposed to have been striped bass? But I have no idea how to tell one type of raw fish from another. I’m not Shamu. The thing about raw fish is that… in this case, it’s just good that the fish is fresh and there’s some oil on the plate for some flavor enhancement.
See, we’re not even done with appetizers yet! After the crudo, we got some crispy broccoli rabe. There was some ‘fermented cream’ on the plate too, which was super delicious. The cream was addictive and we made sure to sop up as much of it as possible with each bite of broccoli rabe. This was an interesting way to eat broccoli rabe because most of time, one encounters this vegetable sauteed and then paired with pork somehow. But not at Torrisi Italian Specialties!
And then we get to the final part of the appetizers. This was a slice of rabbit terrine, and in the middle of the terrine was a piece of foie gras. See what I mean? This shit is bangin’ for $60 bucks. Using rabbit as the meat doesn’t make this plate interesting actually, despite the fact that it was really good terrine. The quenelle shaped red thing in the foreground of the picture was actually carrot puree or something. It tasted like the essence of carrots. Amazing stuff that should come in a jar.
I should mention that Steph and I shared the appetizer plates. But for the gnocchi, we each got a plate of it. The usual adjectives for superb gnocchi would apply here: soft, pillowy, melts-in-your-mouth, sex-in-potato-pasta form, etc. The kale was crispy, which brings me to something that I discovered late in life… a lot of vegetables taste really good when you blast that shit in the over at 500 degrees with some oil. Broccoli, cauliflower, and kale all fall under that category. Parents should feed kids roasted vegetables, and not boiled or steamed. Then more kids will like vegetables. Or parents should just take the Asian parent route and force feed their kids bitter melon. Then at some point the bitterness resentment overwhelms the actual taste of bitter mellon to where you actually like it. No I’m not bitter. Yes, I like bitter melon. Moving on.
For the entree, you get to choose between fish or meat. Steph and I split it up to one of each. She had the John Dory with pepperoni. I think the pepperoni part was mostly in the sauce. I feel like this is one of the cool things about Torrisi Italian Specialties. You can get a fish that’s cooked as well as a restaurant that’s uber fancy, and yet there’s a play on pepperoni, which isn’t traditionally a fine dining ingredient.
I had the veal which featured loin pieces and also a sausage. There was this crispy croquette that was really awesome as well. Like the John Dory entree, this was prepared precisely and delivered good flavors. That’s what’s good about Torrisi Italian Specialties – they’re pretty spot on with flavors.
Before ending the meal, there was some italian ice to clear our palate.
And then the dessert plate! They got an assortment of little pastries. It’s kind of like what you’d find in Little Italy, but better. The cannoli was good and ditto on the three color cake thingy. What I really liked was the little thing that looked like lemon squares, but instead was made from a squash. I forgot if it was pumpkin or not. Either way, really delicious and surprising.
When we went the menu price was $60 for seven courses (mozz, raw fish, broccoli rabe, terrine, pasta, entree, and cookie plate). Now the price is $65 dollars, as per their website. I guess we were lucky to get in before the price went up even more. You really do get a good value for the amount and quality of food at Torrisi Italian Specialties. And I’m not touting that simply to make it sound like a place where you go to get full, because they clearly execute the food with high precision. They even take reservations now, so you don’t have to line up right after work for it. But like I said, don’t wait the whole day and let the day potentially ruin your meal. Go on a weekend, treat yourself, then take it easy (or go look at apartments in BK and rip out your hair, which was what we did).
Torrisi Italian Specialties250 Mulberry Street.New York, NY 10012212-965-0955