Gradisca – Ideal for the Thin and Rich

I haven’t always been a food blogger, but I’ve always been a foodie. One of my favorite things is to go back to restaurants that I haven’t visited for many years to see if my fond memories are because I always had good taste or because the past is always seen through rose colored glasses. Let’s see how Gradisca fared:

20150207_191513 The small Greenwich Village restaurant oozes charm. It’s all exposed brick and cozy tables with a small bar in the middle of the restaurant. It’s loud and buzzy, but can feel a little cramped. It’s really only good for 4 people or fewer – any more than that and you might start to feel a wee bit like sardines.
20150207_194158 Bread

Sadly, unremarkable. Okay at best – don’t waste stomach space here.  20150207_194900 Caprese salad

Excellent! The mozz must be homemade or well sourced, because it has the thick, bouncy texture of mozzarella with the creamy, fatty richness of burrata. Truth be told, I prefer this mozzarella to some lesser, weaker burratas that I have eaten. The pesto is garlicky but sparingly applied so that it compliments the tart, juicy tomatoes. For the middle of winter, this is a damned good caprese salad and I wouldn’t hesitate to order it again.
20150207_194906 Meatballs

Surprisingly good. They are expensive and very small, but wow – the flavor is there. It’s flavor packed and bold in a really bright, herbaceous tomato sauce. Nothing about this is soft or muted. This dish is bold, in your face, and filled with flavor. I just think it’s a little too pricey for the serving size.

20150207_202737 Spaghetti carbonara

My all time favorite pasta dish. I just love carbonara. It’s rich and bacony and peppery and everything wonderful. This is a fantastic version. The homemade pasta is chewy and the bacon is crispy and thick. The eggs are rich but not at all gooey or cloying, and the pepper is freshly ground. It cuts right thought the fat and the salt, making the dish sharp and vibrant. This is a craveable rendition of my favorite pasta – the portion is just so damned tiny.

20150207_210228 Berry panna cotta

Not necessary. The jiggy, lightly vanilla scented panna cotta is served in a puddle of jammy blackberries and raspberries. It’s light and sweet but still indulgent. We mostly ordered it because we were still hungry.

I remembered Gradisca as charming and delicious, which it is. But did I used to be a lot richer and a lot thinner? I mean…how much more money could I have had that I didn’t see how expensive this was? How tiny could I have been that I didn’t think that the portion sizes were positively toddler sized? The vibe is neighborhood date night, but the prices and portion sizes are more model-appropriate fashion week. Though, to be fair, we did enjoy a few very nice drinks. Next time I would come for just a soda and that carbonara.

And maybe fit into my skinny jeans the next morning.