Thursday, May 19, 2011


The restaurant located in the SOHO district, New York City takes its name from Barolo, a town in the Piedmont region of Italy. Think where the knee would be of the boot geographically speaking and that’s the area! There is an extensive amount to information about this area were the famed Barolo “The Wine of Kings and the King of Wines” hails from, for here too you get Barbaresco and the Nebbiolo grape the base of Barolo wine, Barbera, (the other one I recognize), and foods such as Risotto and, Polenta, White Truffle, hearty Seafood Stews and Earthy Meat dishes that lend themselves well to this complex wine and others in the region.

Well not my intention to be and Italian historian for you to fall out of your chair in boredom, lets talk FOOOD! My first exposure to this restaurant was a Sunday morning reading the newspaper, and watching a show called Brindiamo, well the TV was really watching me but I started to pay attention when Ornella Fado the show’s host showed the garden terrace in the restaurant! I love finding little nooks and crannies like that in Manhattan. You feel transported if only for a moment from the hustle.
Serralunga d'Alba, Piemonte, Italia

Well I watched her enjoy a tour with the owner Paolo Secondo, he himself from the Barolo region and Chef Bergamini who delighted her by preparing some of the dishes on the terrace!
I have to warn you up front one of her favorites the focaccia Genovese which is a typical bread from the region of Liguria tends to be more salty than what many are used to but I enjoyed it with the balsamic vinegar and olive oil dip!

the place

There is a story behind this water feature! Positively forgot though but here are some view of the terrace. All this tucked away for you to enjoy in the middle (well not exactly middle on a map) of Manhattan.

Ornella Fado and Paulo Facundo At the water feature in the garden terrace
Another view of the terrace

The Terrace at night....

It was a ladies lunch day with a 11 year old nephew thrown in for good measure. We went to The Frick Collection, a must see if you visit New York and an old favorite of my family. Pearl River next, Sis had things she wanted to get for the home. Pearl River has a treasure chest of all kinds of goodies from Asia (and a little tea place if you keep going up!). Anyway we left there, I peek Top Shop out the corner of my eye (its right across the street) but resisted temptation as its more my kinda stop than theirs!

Everyone was hungry nephew wanted Ollies (our regular) and we didnt want to go too far to feed that hunger! We ended walking right up Broadway and the long front entrance of Barolo kept calling us in. We took a peek and after looking at the menu decided this would do nicely for lunch. Sis doesn't like to compromise especially when it comes to Mom by the way so this was perfect.

Old fashion Italian, white tablecloths, and the three glasses for water, white and red! Yes it was getting better as we walked in. We went through the front dining room up the stairs to the terrace dining room where you could then proceed to the garden with the water feature as the focal point but alas we couldn't sit outside because it was a bit too hot. We got a great banquet booth and the sky light in that room as you can see from the pictures made it as nice as being outside.

We sat against the wall in the booth in the background

Well Mom was in heaven, sis happy, myself elated and my nephew utterly fasinated.......with his new "Verizon wireless" (note the quotes because he kept saying that like the two words were mated for life).

the food

Impeccable service, Pelligrino water, Genovese focaccia, olive oil and balsamic vinegar all came quickly! The waiter waited on us with such care and was quick to explain to my Mom what to expect with the Orata. (yes I'm getting there).

So we started with the appetizers the Polpo Grigliato con Patate e Olive (Grilled octopus new potatoes and black olives tossed in light lemon vinaigrette and olive oil cured olives with capers), I can't begin to tell you the joy of cutting into an Octupus with a fork. The lemon sauce never overpowered the dish but just lent an undernote of citrus and acidity while the capers and olive oil cured olives gave a saltiness and bite perfectly complementing the Octupus. The Zuppa del Giorno (Soup of the day Roasted tomato and Fennel Soup) on a hot summer's day was just what the heat ordered. The hint of char reminding you of the grill was quickly mellowed out with sweet tomatoes refreshing fennel and a swirl of basil coolie dancing on top with creme fraiche. Wait, Im still tasting....
FRITTO MISTO DI PESCE (Fried calamari, shrimp and zucchini) was the nephew's choice and we ordered his when we did the appetizers because, well you know kids! And as you can imagine he could not finish it so I helped, and often. You have got to try this heaping helping of heaven. The calamari was no more than you should expect, the zucchini was not SOGGY (it can be done) but the shrimp had me (and Mom) at HELLO. Hello Shrimp, that reminded me that it could be deep fried and still tender because it wasn't over cooked, and the ocean sweetness that says fresh, today, and not frozen...yes I can tell. Now good-bye you delicious morsel while I eat you! Have you ever spoken to your food? You will here!

The Spagetti and Lobster were my Sis and my choice cause, well, its lobster and its pasta, and we were not dissapointed with a spicy red sauce, al dente (for real) spaghetti, and two generous lobster tails, again not frozen! Ah it doesn't stop on the fresh seafood here. Mom had the broiled Orata with potatoes. This fish, this medeterranian fish from the bream family was considered sacred to the goddess Aphrodite. I googled it! I had to. The flavor closest to the snapper fish is still better than the snapper fish. They fly this stuff in and it is well worth it! And by the way Aphrodite I get ya!!!

The sweetest, fluffiest flesh that you could imagine and butter and baby potatoes! It was a whole fish and though they wanted to fillet it for Mom she wasn't having it. I helped her there too. Never had that Orata fish before! Definitely will again! On the side garlic spinach a simple saute in butter with paper thin slivers of garlic.

Generous portions served meant hardly a space for desert but who could avoid trying at least one right! Well we also agreed and ordered Tortino di Cioccolato Fondente (Flourless dark chocolate cake with white chocolate sauce and fresh berries)
Gelati e Sorbetti del Giorno (Raspberry) Tiramisu (Layered cake with mascarpone, ladyfingers and espresso coffee),

I think that was it! By then I was so drunk with food and hospitality it really didn't matter. Total delight that place for lunch and we left feeling this would be added to our list.

I dont want you to miss out on this delight and we did not go into the fine wine list because we didnt drink that day. Suffice to say a wine list boasting over 1200 labels can be found here for you to explore with gracious assistance.Stop by you'll delight all your senses here!!!

398 W Broadway
New York, NY 10012-4302
(212) 226-1102

All restuarant pictures taken from Barolo's website. I did let someone know and the other picture credits are available at Google images. Seems I was so busy eating it didn't occur to me to take pictures. Ah the mistakes of a fledging commentator/critic!
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