(between Bleeker and W. 4th Sts. )
New York, NY 10014
While reading 'Heat' by Bill Buford (a great book about working in a restaurant kitchen, click on the link for a review), he mentioned that Mario Batali's first restaurant in NYC was Pó (which I think is a river in Italy). So, yesterday I was with my cousin and a good friend and we were hoping to have an early dinner at Pearl Oyster Bar (which I'm sure I'll write about the next time I go there) but Pearl wasn't quite open yet and I saw Pó across the street and decided to try it. Batali has since moved on the Babbo et al. and no longer has part ownership in Pó but it seems like the food has maintained it's excellence.
We ordered the Amarone della Valpolicella, '03, Salvalai (Veneto) for our wine. I have very little knowledge of wine in general and even less on Italian wines but I've always enjoyed an Amarone and this one didn't disappoint. It was smooth with a rich, deep flavor that went perfect with the meal. We decided to try the tasting menu. We started with the white bean bruschetta. The beans had perfect texture and the flavor was light and perfect for cleaning the palate. Next up was a micro green salad with endives topped with paprika-infused olive oil. Again, nice light fare and fresh. The third course was a ravioli in a basil cream sauce stuffed with broccoli rabe and goat cheese (I think). To me, this was the highlight of the meal. The broccoli rabe's tartness was a great balance to the creamy richness of the sauce. The ingredients were all fresh and the ravioli was definitely lighter than expected. The next course was a gnocchi in a traditional bolognese sauce. The gnocchi was well prepared and bolognese sauce was true to its italian roots. Nonetheless, the dish wasn't spectacular but still good eating. A grilled guinea hen on top of fregula, scallions, roasted corn & saba was the second most visually appealing dish in the meal. The hen was roasted perfectly and came out moist and flavorful and the fregula (small pasti that resembles Israeli couscous)was ouststanding for its texture and taste. The cheese course wasn't anything to write home about and the desserts, while simple, were a great way to finish a meal. We were presented with a dark chocolate terrine with Amaretti Sorrano Vin Santo & espresso caramel, a panna cotta with amarena cherries, and fresh figs with marscapone and crumbled amaretti cookies.
Overall, Pó definitely lived up to what I had read about and while trying to write this, which I'm sure I didn't do it justice, it opened up my eyes on eating even more. I've always enjoyed restaurants but I feel like this is the beginning of my education on how good food can be.