The Lovely Main Dining Room at Montebello (Above)
120 E. 56th Street, Bet. Park & Lexington Avenues
Montebello is an Italian restaurant in the cherished sense of the genre.Located at the heart of Midtown, Montebello buzzes with excitement as a business lunch spot with high-powered patrons such as Mayor Bloomberg, Donald Trump, and Barbara Walters.
It is the most romantic of romantic rendezvous.” Celebrities such as Tony Bennett, Neil Simon, Kate Moss, Ron Howard, the Baldwin brothers and Michael Richards enjoy the beautiful private banquettes and soothing atmosphere of this elegant, unpretentious space. Owner Joe Bozic provides a dining experience virtually unrivalled in the city. The service is warm and attentive; the decor is artistic and inviting; and the food is sublime.
Classic cooking from the area near Trieste, Italy, is the inspiration for the quintessential northern Italian menu developed by generations of the Bozic family. Emphasis is placed on simple, fresh ingredients and Italian cooking methods. Fresh pastas are made in-house daily, and dried pastas are imported from Italy. All meals are complemented by a selection of hand-made breads baked according to traditional methods. Lunch and dinner menus include a selection of antipasti, soups and salads, house made pastas and a wide variety of desserts.
This hidden gem in the heart of Midtown is difficult to beat. With the intimate dining room you will enjoy elegance and provide impeccable service, the sort that New Yorkers frequent for power lunches or a romantic dinner. I love the laid back décor, tromp loil touches and lovely murals.
While there are many restaurant copycats and the modern-kitchen is becoming a factory of cliché. Montebello, a delightfully-traditional "New York Italian" restaurant, unabashedly shuns fad. The beige and pink L-shaped room with red leather banquettes, framed water colors, wall-recesses housing mostly Italian wines and a mahogany bar offers a gentle & civilized atmosphere.
The greeting by the owner is warm and welcoming, and the staff is always excellent). The bar makes a superb Negroni and the wine list has improved. The Travaglini Gattinara, made from the famed Nebbiolo grape offers fine value and there is a lovely Roero Arneis,Bruno Giacosa for around $70.
Simple items like PROSCIUTTO SAN DANIELLE, imported prosciutto with seasonal fresh fruits are lovey & Polipo (octopus salad) with steamed potato, red onions, caper berries, olive oil and lemon is well executed. Pastas are enormous and can easily be split as an appetizer or in-betweener. Crespelle, ricotta and spinach crepes in a fresh tomato sauce is delicious at Montebello, as is a perfect linguini and white clam sauce, garnished with only one in its shell, (we added a dash of hot pepper added for good measure).
It would be hard to find a better broiled veal chop: huge, juicy and pink as requested with an aromatic salsa verde. The roasted rack of lamb with Dijon mustard; aromatic breadcrumbs and dry white wine are lovely. This is, by far, the best food I’ve had at Montebello. Well the chef should know his stuff. He’s been there 8 years. Not designed for the gastro-molecular crowd, here is classic (and classy) cooking in a civilized setting, amidst warm glowing sconces and soft coral walls highlighting lovely murals.
There is a tempting dessert-wagon, but being sated, we should have chosen fresh blue berries & a bit of Parmesan cheese. Instead we went for the terrific cannoli, Italian cheesecake and tiramisu. Finish with some fine cappuccino and homemade Grappa and you’ll agree that Montebello at 120 E. 56th Street, Bet. Park & Lexington Avenues rates an A Major on The Walman Report.
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