Day Three: Dinner at Pó
Our ‘big dinner,’ as we like to refer to it, was at Pó in the cute and hopping Brooklyn neighborhood of Carroll Gardens. They cook beautiful Italian food from a variety of regions with seasonal ingredients. During the day, we had gone in teams of three, each team to an assigned neighborhood in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens or the Bronx to get to know the flavors, history, and people that defined it. Towards the second half of dinner, each group got up and shared their experience in their neighborhood. If Shauna waits on you, just ask her about the Babbo. She’s still raving about it.
I cannot begin to tell you how magical this dinner was. Really. There is an image of our special menu below for you to check out because it would take me all day to rave about each and every one of these dishes, and we all made sure to try everything. The dinner was paced perfectly. The service was absolutely impeccable. Through the meal, you couldn’t really distinguish who the owner from the food runner to the waiter in the sense that everyone was equally as warm, attentive, and accommodating.
Some of the appetizers we had that were not on our special menu were THE MOST AMAZING MEATBALLS IN SAUCE EVER; roasted beets with endive, sliced baby artichokes, watercress, and Taleggio crostino; and cured tuna with white beans, sliced artichokes, chili mint vinaigrette. We could barely bring ourselves to talk about anything but the food. The wine parings were also beautifully chosen. What I loved about all the food was that the ingredients sang in harmony. You could clearly pick out each flavor but they all worked in perfect balance.
For our first course, I ordered the orecchiette (a handmade pasta that translates to “little ears” and is native to Apulia) with broccoli rabe in a sweet sausage ragu. The slight sweetness of the sausage and the bitterness of the broccoli rabe did this wonderful dance in your mouth, like the tension between Paso Doble partners, the push and pull of wills that make such a dynamic performance. We were all passing plates around, making sure no one missed a flavor. While my lamb entrée was delectable, I must say that the cornish hen took the cake. Wow. The dessert that I loved was the custard topped with a blueberry sauce.
This dinner, I think I can say for most of us that have made this trip for three years, was our favorite. The food, the atmosphere, the incredible warmth and service of the staff. We kept that place open well passed close and no one made us feel rushed or unwelcome, in fact the kitchen staff ducked out the back door so we wouldn’t be disturbed or alerted to the fact that the place was closed. (such a far cry from Austin restaurants that won’t let you come in and dine 20 minutes before they close.)
It was our last dinner together and it was wonderful to share those three days together experiencing NYC in a way that even my friends(with money) who live there don’t get to and it was absolutely magical.