Tired of trying so hard to get into tiny Sfoglia that you're thinking flying to Italy might be easier? Well, there's another trattoria to try called Centolire, and you don't even have to leave the Upper East Side.
For people-watching and close tables -- all the better to overhear you with, my dear -- stay downstairs. Otherwise, have Valen take you to the spacious and beautifully appointed upstairs dining room and cross your fingers that Titiana is your waitress. Settle in and enjoy the freshly baked bread and foccacia with cayenne-spiked butter that's the consistency of goat cheese. Molto bene!
On to the appetizers. I've always loved chicken livers, but I haven't had them in a long time. Centolire's Cibreo were so good, they inspired me to check Foodiebytes.com so I can have them more often back in San Francisco. (Sidebar: Foodiebytes is my new fave site du jour. Tell Foodiebytes what you're craving, and it'll find it for you on menus in Boston, Chicago, New York, San Francisco or Washington, D.C.) LeBro James had the Insalata Di Cesare, prepared tableside.
For main courses, here's what the Fro Fro family enjoyed:
Dad: the evening special Beef Brisket (not pictured).
Mom: Tagliata di Manzo grilled hanger steak with a side dish of the evening special appetizer, Butternut Squash Ravioli with sage brown butter. The steak usually comes with butternut squash and brussel sprouts, but since Mom wanted the squash in her ravioli, she asked to switch her side for Dad's spinach and of course he obliged (he's good like that). However, it didn't come out as ordered -- but Titiana quickly made things right.
LeBro James: the aptly named La Grande, grilled ribeye steak served with shallot mashed potatoes and creamy spinach gratin.
Fro Fro: Spaghetti Alla Rustica. Al dente pasta with tomato sauce, thinly sliced onions and Parmesan cheese. A simple, flavorful dish, and the perfect accompaniment to the tastes of everyone else's meat dishes that I was able to score.
Midway through the meal, Titiana prompted us to order this Mocha Souffle, which was a bit difficult to eat but worth the effort.
The portions at Centolire are quite generous, so we ended up with lots left over take home with us. That turkey in the fridge had some stiff competition!
Centolire | 1167 Madison Avenue between 85th & 86th Streets | 212-734-7711