My father knows Southern Italian better than I do. His family is from Calabria. It was a no brainer for him to want to try La Calabria – we tried it several times. I was there about a week ago. It’s hard to find good Italian food in the desert. This is where La Calabria comes in, as my father stated this is homestyle Calabrian cooking. La Calabria is a mom pop restaurant owned by Clara and Giovanni Spadaro. The atmosphere is friendly, warm and comfortable.
My father always orders the ravioli. We always get the calamari for an appetizer split. Both are delicious. I had the Salmone Piccatta with broccoli with fresh garlic and roasted potatoes. I had a choice of soup, salad, or pasta. I of course choice the pasta. Salmone Piccatta had a buttery lemon flavor that I fell in love with. My meal was super! I only wish I had room for the Tiramisu but will save that for my next visit.
This is the one restaurant my father feels a longing for when he wants Italian food and my mother is not in the mood for cooking.
It was a lovely evening with hosts Tim Brown, owner and eventeur of Park Avenue Bistro and Nancy Swiezy, personal relations and 1st generation internet entrepreneur. Executive Chef, Gonzalo Compos cooked up a delicious feast for New York’s most famous food bloggers.
The evening started with puff pastry with caramelized onions and sardines with fresh basil, mini taco of tuna tartar tartar with ginger soy in sauce, toasted jumbo coconut shrimp with rum honey dipping sauce. Caramelized onions and sardines were refreshing I think it could have been the basil which added to the flavor.
The first course started with Salmon Gravlax homemade cured gravlax accented with a smoked trout mousse with black caviar. A delicious melody, which rocked my tongue, the surprise was the very thin potato pancake which came at the very end. This appetizer was served with a Chassage Montrachet Clos ler Crus and has a smoky flavor going from sweet to dry.
Then next appetizer was Wild Muschroom Ravioli. Homemade ravioli stuffed with wild mushrooms covered in white truffle sauce with shaved aged parmesan. Ravioli were light wild mushrooms and white truffle sauce made my tongue dance. Dancing Bear Pinto Noir Sonoma was an excellent pairing and enhanced the flavors of the truffle sauce. Pinto Noir has a lovely hint of vanilla.
Main course was Striped Sea Bass slow baked in natural tomato broth placed on sautéed leeks with fingerling potatoes. The slow baked sea bass retained the rich flavors and remained very moist.
The second main course was Crispy Duck. I’ve always had problems eating duck or goose because the oils are often too heavy for me to digest. This would have to be the first time I was able to enjoy such a richly prepared duck. Oven brown breast of duck sliced over braised red cabbage with a port wine sauce. The read cabbage was a wonderful surprise. I thought the port wine sauce could be a little sweeter. I would even be so bold to suggest adding a dark chocolate the port wine sauce. Paired with 2000 Chateau D’Arvigny Haut-Medoc which is very very very bone dry.
There was a pause for more delicious conversation. The décor was lovely and gives view into the kitchen. The dining room wall space is often used for galleries to show works of art. The dinner for us food bloggers was held in a spacious private room with a view of the entire restaurant.
Now for dessert. There was an assortment of desserts from a chocolate mousse which was an architectural wonder mixture of cream shaved nuts fresh strawberries. More desserts arrived including a bread pudding, apple tart and dark chocolate flourless cake. All delicious.
It was a nice gesture bringing us all together to talk about food, art, life and everything. It was a lovely evening, and I hope to return to try out the rest of the menu.
Park Avenue Bistro is perfect of date night, great place for business lunch. Located: 377 Park Avenue South New York, New York 10016 Phone: 212-689-1360 Parkavenuebistronyc.blogspot.com