Amali Makes Midtown East Dining…Interesting?!

When my girlfriend asked me to meet her for dinner near her office, I inwardly groaned. Midtown. Ugh. Midtown East. Double ugh. and Park Avenue. Like…who goes there to have a GOOD TIME?

The answer: me. Now, anyway.

IMG_20131209_184411_809 Amali is a wine bar that looks more at home in the east village than on 60th and Park. it has a casual, warm, urban-farmhouse feel. It’s ideal for a girls night out and I can’t wait to return with some friends. It’s candlelit and not too noisy – gret for romance, not so great for food photography.

IMG_20131209_191853_018 Burrata di campagna kritiko olive oil, maldon sea salt

Excellent, and it’s pricey because it’s great. It’s imported from the Italian countryside, and whatever they feed their cows is the right stuff. This burrata is far superior to the domestic stuff – it’s stretchy and smooth, surrounding such dense, creamy innards that they spread with a spoon on the toasted, well charred bread. It’s served doused in olive oil that is fruity and smooth. It’s also well seasoned  plenty of crunchy salt and spicy black pepper, which really elevates it. This is what makes this stand out seasoning is everything.

IMG_20131209_193722_991 Eggplant with calabrian chili honey vinaigrette, cilantro, sesame, yogurt

A standout of the night! The eggplant must be fried at some point, or maybe baked in an insanely hot oven, because the skin is incredibly crunchy and the insides are melting and soft. It’s served with a very spicy chili sauce over tangy, creamy yogurt and the sweet vinaigrette. The cilantro gives this a decidedly middle eastern feel – don’t come here expecting the same ole, same ole. This is a standout dish!

IMG_20131209_193734_164 Spanish octopus with castelveltrano olives, yukon potatoes, wild oregano

Excellent for those of you who love shellfish – this is fresh and mild, with no hint of the sea – much like a mild, well prepared clam. It’s tender and served with a salty, crushed olive relish that lends it a briny flavor. The potato puree is a fun take on the classic octopus-potato combination. It’s not too salty or overseasoned – the flavor of the octopus really shines.
Ricotta honey doughnuts with honeyed ricotta

Oh. Yes. Ricotta makes these doughnuts moist and custardy on the inside. They are served piping hot and rolled in sugar, but aren’t too sweet. they are served on this creamy, vanilla scented whipped ricotta. It’s like zeppole gone up town.

It’s like me gone uptown – or at least midtown! This is a little overpriced, but it’s midtown east, so everything is a little overpriced. The service is great, the wine list is extensive (there’s a full bar, too), and the food is a great switch up from the normal Italian fare at wine bars. The menu is kinda ll over the mediterranean and middle east, which is what makes it interesting.

I just said midtown east was interesting. Whoa.


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