TravelNoise: Senso Unico, New York City
As a Brooklyn gal, I’ve got to be honest in saying that I just don’t make it out to Queens as much as I should. But you can get me to travel anywhere if it means that a heaping platter of pasta is waiting for me. And so, when I heard about the incredible Italian fare at Senso Unico in Sunnyside Queens, I laced up my good walking shoes and made the trek.
The restaurant is situated in the heart of the neighborhood, surrounded by other mom and pop shops. The outside and inside of the establishment boasts a classic family vibe, with old photos strung up, bread baskets donning every table with oil and vinegar and cozy dim lighting.
Our host seated us in the corner with the most natural light and immediately got us onto our amazing drinks—a mango margarita for me and a limoncello mojito for my guest. The margarita was slightly spicy, full-bodied, smooth and not too sweet, while the mojito was bright, sweet, light and perfect for summer. As we finished our drinks, we couldn’t help but gawk at the menu’s many tasty offerings, both traditional and modern.
As our host came back around to hear the verdict, we settled on a few winners: the carpaccio di carne, featuring thinly-sliced seared rib-eye, arugula, lemon and shaved parmesan cheese. We also couldn’t help but order the cuoppo—fried calamari, shrimp, vegetables and spicy aioli. The carpaccio was buttery and delicate, offset by zesty arugula and salty part, while the calamari was light and airy, veggies perfectly crispy and shrimp ever so tender. We were off to an amazing start already, but we were very much looking forward to the main courses, which we left to our host.
As we cleaned our appetizer plates, our host suggested the fusilli avellinesi—artisanal fresh spiral pasta, pork sausages and tomato-truffle sauce, as well as the special of the night, salmon-stuffed cannelloni with lemon sauce. The truffle pasta was fragrant and funky, as truffle pasta absolutely should be, while the cannelloni was citrusy with fork-tender salmon.
We made room for dessert, because we aren’t quitters, especially when the restaurant’s specialty, beer tiramisu, is on offer. We could smell the beer off the tiramisu, which was entirely infused with it, but we picked up flavors of nutmeg and enjoyed the rich custard-y consistency. We also ordered the deconstructed Napoleon, which featured fresh sour cherries, homemade ricotta, phyllo. The trio of flavors burst together to create an equally creamy, crunchy and tart dessert—what we like to call the perfect balance.
I was happy to make the trip to Sunnyside to experience some good ol’ mom and pop Italian food. Between the never-ending basket of fresh bread and olive oil to the tantalizing appetizers and mains to the bright, complementary drinks, my guest and I called it one of the “really good ones.” Basically, just go—no matter which borough you reside in.