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It’s rare that I straight up recommend a restaurant because I’m rarely that impressed. I don’t suffer from low expectations. But I gotta tell ya, I’m loving Robert DeNiro’s latest addition to his TriBeCa empire: Locanda Verde. Attached to the Greenwich Hotel, with a kitchen run by head chef Andrew Carmellini formerly of A Voce and Café Boulud fame, this place makes magic in their Italian cucina. The menu’s pure comfort, but the execution is a cut above. I first took my Dad there back in July when it was warm enough to enjoy the café seating on the sidewalk…there’s also a courtyard round back that’s molto romantico, if you’re looking for a little seduction with your supper. Needless to say we were not, so we dug right into Carmellini’s Lamb Meatball Sliders (insane!) and his signature Grandma’s Raviolis, which are exactly that – perfect, classic, meat-stuffed packets of pasta in gravy. On my second visit, Celest and I took a more elevated approach by starting off our culinary feast with a seasonal tomato appetizer, which included, of course, local tomatoes, watermelon, and smoked ricotta cheese. The fresh, somewhat acidic tomatoes burst in our mouths and mixed with the cool, sweet melon, only to be finished off with a bold char on the creamy ricotta. The smokiness was new to me in a dish as simple as this, and it got my attention. Next up were the Roasted Diver Scallops with corn polenta, zucchini, pancetta, and a side of the goddamn best green beans I’ve ever had. Seriously. The best! I would “do things” for that bean recipe. What more can I say?
This place is a total scene in all the best ways, so expect to wait (even if you snag a rez). But the wait can be fun! There’s a bopping bar buzz, great wines by the glass and a killer breadbasket to tide you over. And you know what they say, “The best things come to those who…” Eat it Up!