TravelNoise: Dell’anima, New York City
If you find yourself on the west side of Manhattan, Gotham market is one of the first spots you need to hit. The market is comprised of popular food and drink vendors—you’ll even notice an Ample Hills ice cream stand posting up in the center of the large hall—but if you’re looking for damn good Italian, look no further than Dell’anima.
The restaurant sits facing outward toward the avenue, with a long marble bar and sleek black seats. The menu, focused yet engaging, is displayed on a handwritten board hanging from the wall. Our host promptly greeted us against the quick weekday evening hustle and seated us outside, right near the hall. The music was tempered, yet unmistakably classic, and the equally tasteful decor made Dell’anima’s corner feel much more like a dedicated restaurant than a plot at Gotham Market.
We were told that the roasted orange negroni sbagliato ($13) was the perfect pick-me-up for such a warm evening, so before we saw anything else, we ordered two of those—naturally. We did spot an impressive beer and wine selection as we sorted through the menus after our hasty order, though we were right to go with the host’s choice—the cocktail was refreshing and bright, but with a bite, as all negronis should be.
Next up was the food, and after some group deliberation, my guest and I followed our host’s tastes yet again by ordering the arugula salad ($13) with lemon and parmigiano, the octopus ($19) with rice beans, chorizo and chicories, the tagliatelle alla bolognese ($19) with parmigiano reggiano, and the Berkshire pork chop ($30) with red potatoes, onion purée and pickled red pepper. The arugula salad was salty, peppery (thanks to the arugula) and perfect in its minimalism and simplicity. The octopus, on the other hand, was anything but simple—juicy, rich, and buttery, it contrasted beautifully against the full-bodied chorizo, spiced rice beans, and crispy endive.
We were able to finish those first dishes in a matter of minutes, and the waitstaff must have watched us pace, because our mains came out just a few moments after our plates were cleared. (We certainly weren’t complaining.) The tagliatelle was everything one should be—comforting, rich, and fresh, with a bolognese so flavorful that it must have simmered for hours. We melted into the pasta dish just long enough to finish every last bit before the Berkshire pork chop arrived. Massive, tender, and perfectly charred, the pork chop was nothing short of incredible, while the onion puree offset the chop’s saltiness with a sweet, caramelized flavor. While we couldn’t finish the pork chop (as it was truly a large cut of meat), we both agreed that it was probably the best we’ve both ever had—so there’s that.
Gotham Market has more tricks up its sleeve (and more delicious foods to devour), though for now, we were more than satisfied with Dell’anima and the memorable cuisine that group provided to us. We were so elated with our fullness that we even turned down the ice cream, and any New Yorker would be ashamed of us for not champing it out by ordering a quick scoop. Oh well—when you have a meal as good as what we had, you don’t want to worry about anything except for when you can come back.