54 Mint had been on my list of places to try for quite some time. When I asked cousin MC whether we should go here or to Park Tavern instead (yet another place I've sadly skipped in my food forays 'round town—though I've since filled that hole; blog post to come), she left the choice to me. MC said both were good, just in different ways. Ah well, since I was in the mood for some pasta, and comfort food to boot, I chose 54 Mint.
MC was game for trying the bruschetta served with a creamy spread of burrata, luscious sea urchin, shavings of bottarga (aka salted, cured fish roe) and a chiffonade of basil. Mmmm, a really good marriage of the subtle dairy and sea urchin flavors with the more intense, briney bite of the bottarga.
Brand new on the menu that night was the paccheri (tube-shaped pasta) in an uber-garlicky (maybe a tick too garlicky, though MC didn't think so) zucchini sauce with a generous helping of calamari that was so tender, we barely had to chew the delicate little rings as we polished off this lovely bowl of bouncy goodness.
Whoa. When we spied this mountain of meat at another table just over and yonder, we knew we had to have it: the Roman-style oxtail stewed for hours so that the beef was really only just barely draped over the bone—and came tumbling off as soon as we gently laid our forks on it. Tomatoes, pancetta, carrots, onions, and celery along with a medley of Italian spices kicked up the flavor quotient several notches. This is the kind of thing that spells comfort food with a capital C, and something I'll cook on occasion (mostly special ones and when I have time) at home.