La Masseria: Tuscany comes to NYC

by Cari, New York Guest Concierge

To say I had a busy week was an understatement! On Thursday after work, I took advantage of Restaurant Week and enjoyed both the food and views at The View Restaurant at the Marriott Marquis before seeing the spellbinding Porgy and Bess which left me speechless. On Friday, I had tickets to see On a Clear Day You Can See Forever before it closed. Before the show, I got to partake in one of the best Italian meals I have ever had in my life. This is coming from an Italian Jersey girl who had been raised on sauce, meatballs, and classic Italian dishes (Sorry, family!). I only gush for good reason; every bite at LA MASSERIA was gush worthy!

On both of these exciting New York evenings, I took my Mom who loves food and Broadway as much as I do. Also raised very Italian, we were excited to try this new location that my colleagues have said has the best tiramisu in the city. I was immediately drawn to the beautiful but not overdone interior of La Masseria, Tuscan inspired with racks of wine on many of the walls. The bar was stunning with a lovely stone archway. It made me feel comfortable and at home.

Upon sitting down, we met Juan, our friendly, informative and sweet waiter, and Elia, one of the kind and generous managers. They brought us a delicious spread of bread, breadsticks, capers in oil, a plate of prosciutto, cheese, olives, and salami, bruschetta, pinot grigio and an unsweetened iced tea. The bread with capers was divine and the cheese plate was the perfect start. My Mom and I love the skinny, crunchy breadsticks at Becco on Restaurant Row but La Masseria’s were ten thousand times better. As for the bruschetta, my mom said it was, hands down, the best she ever had, no onions but just kalamata olives and the freshest tomatoes and oil.

For appetizers, we decided to start with the Fritto Misto, fried calamari, shrimp and scallops. We took a bite and both sighed. The calamari was so lightly breaded and tender; the shrimp was cooked perfectly and had no hint of that seafood taste. The absolute winner of this amazing dish were the scallops. Warm throughout, lightly breaded, and so tender- they were the best I’ve ever tasted.

After a little break, we ordered our entrees: for mom, the lambs chops, spinach and potatoes (a special that evening) and for me the homemade linguini with eggplant and mozzarella. The lamb chops were in a vinegar based brown sauce with a great tangy taste that went perfectly with the whipped potatoes. The lamb chops were perfectly cooked and the meat just fell off the bone. They even made a simple spinach side and whipped potatoes taste flavorful and delicious. I was partial to my own dish though! The softest pasta ever, you could tell it was homemade and fresh the way it melted in your mouth. The eggplant and chunks of mozzarella cheese were coupled with a flavorful sauce, again fresh tomatoes, no acidic taste, just fresh and delicious. I was so impressed with the food. Everything was so excellent and we were completely full. I didn’t think they could do any better.

And then it was time for dessert. What is a meal without dessert? My mom ordered a cappuccino that she reports was a “real Italian cappuccino” with tons of foam and the perfect thickness. I ordered a jasmine tea that arrived in a beautiful little press; it smelled so good that the lady next to me ordered it too! We sipped and relaxed a few moments until the tiramisu arrived. Everyone said we had to try it so there was no other pick for us- they were all so right. The mascarpone cheese was light and fluffy; there was not the usual overwhelming taste of alcohol, just a hint near the lady fingers. It was gone so quickly you would have thought we hadn’t already eaten an enormous dinner.

La Masseria was, in short, amazing. The food was divine. The service was impeccable, patient and kind. The décor is lovely. The experience was incomparable. My mom already has plans to go there again next week and is bringing all of her friends. I say GO THERE. Eat everything and anything on the menu and I promise bliss will follow. I hope you will fall in love with it as much as I did.

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