Situated in the heart of the New York City’s Flat Iron district, San Rocco Restaurant conveys Italian culture in its entirety. Reminiscent of Milan’s greatest restaurants, every detail has been closely attended to and the ambiance is one of a contemporary, yet extremely warm enoteca.
We started off our meal with two absolutely extraordinary drinks born from the mind of owner, Rocco Arena and mixologist Fabio Brusco. The Gordon’s Cup (gin sour with a cucumber and a touch of salt) was extremely refreshing and quite delicious, but it was the delivery of the Porn Star that has kept me talking all week. This is a multi-course cocktail made up of a blend of Absolut Vanilla and passion fruit juice chilled in a martini glass, served alongside a shot glass filled with Prosecco. Resting on top of the shot glass is a half of a fresh passion fruit, with a baby silver spoon buried in its luscious and inviting center—a true treat for the senses and one that set the bar rather high.
Our antipasti launched with a preparation of Beef Carpaccio stuffed with robiola cheese and sprinkled with truffle salt—a strong start and one that I would have been happy eating all night—truly addictive. Next up was the Tartare di Ricciola (amberjack tartare with avocado, vanilla oil and vegetable tagliatelle). Hailing from the Atlantic, this deliciously oily and moist fish was elegantly highlighted and like everything else this evening, beautifully presented.
Moving on to the Primi portion of the meal, we eagerly dove into the Risotto con Sogliola (lemon-infused risotto with sole fish) which was as authentic as a stroll down Piazza della Scalla and put us in just the right headspace for the tableside preparation of the La Santa Carbonara (spaghetti carbonara with egg yolk and guanciale). The guanciale, an unsmoked bacon prepared with pig’s jowl or cheeks, is a delicacy of central Italy and added a unique panache to this classic.
Moving on to the Secondi phase, we were knocked out by the Costine D’Agnello alla Griglia. These beautifully grilled lamb chops dressed with a wine reduction were exquisite and were accented by quite simply the best and most perfectly roasted potatoes that I have ever tasted—ever!
Just when I thought that I couldn’t find anything else to rave about, our waiter arrived with a traditional Tiramisu and a Nutella Cheesecake. Quite frankly and much against the flow of my New York brethren, I am not a big fan of cheesecake. However, this was a show stopper and a must try.
Having a few days to digest the experience at San Rocco, more and more seems to make its way into my memory of this exquisite experience. The elaborate yet understated design elements—the warmth of owner Rocco Arena and our host for the evening, Francesca DeFranchis—but staying true to my passion, it is most certainly the food that will have me coming back time and again.