Attention Hamilton Heights citizens and all those New Yorkers seeking transcendental Northern Italian cooking: head to L’Artista for imaginative pizzas and an array of Italian favorites brought to you by a top chef. Located in the heart of Hartman Plaza in Uptown New York City’s Hamilton Heights area, L’Artista held a tasting for its recently launched autumn menu, which I had the honor of attending. This tasting was my first time visiting L’Artista and it definitely won’t be my last, as Chef German Rizzo focuses on providing unique Italian dishes that truly stand out—more than your standard pasta bowls.
The restaurant’s name comes from desiring an Italian feel/sound when saying the name, while incorporating the word “Art” alluding to Rizzo’s partner, Swiss-American composer, saxophonist, and flutist Daniel Schnyder’s talent as a musician and composer. You’ll notice that while there are tons of Italian-centric art pieces and decor hung up around the restaurant, there are just as many compositions designed by Schnyder himself and flyers from some of his performances from over the years.
Seen in photos above: Left, Dizzy Oaxacan cocktail. Right, polpo (grilled octopus) with olives, asparagus, creamy cauliflower puree delicacy.
L’Artista’s inspiration—from the interior design to the food—lies in Chef German Rizzo’s desire to transport customers to a bistro in Italy. Most of the decor at the restaurant arrived straight from Italy, brought by the chef himself.
L’Artista’s autumnal tasting included pasta dishes such as a truffle Cacio e Pepe (seen above), plus a variety of pizzas, a fresh mozzarella demo by the chef, wagyu carpaccio and more. Entertainment is offered every weekend through live music, as local and nationally-recognized musicians perform jazz and blues.
The tasting started off with four appetizers. The first was a chef’s salumi board which contained select local and imported sliced meats, local cheeses, marinated olives, and ricotta cheese. This was perfect to open up the taste buds for the rest of the dishes, which I paired with a glass of Pinot Noir. Next, we had a table-smoked wagyu carpaccio salad which was magical, as it arrived on a wooden board covered with a glass top that when opened, smoke gushed out. This salad contained smoked wagyu beef slices, arugula, parmigiano, a citrus salsa, and a mustard dressing.
The main courses were varied as pizza pies containing toppings such as garlicky broccoli rabe, pork sausage, fresh tomatoes, basil, and more were served. Following the pizzas, we tasted two pasta dishes, which were the Cacio e Tartufo and Maccheroncini al Ragu di Agnello. The Cacio e Tartufo is similar to a Cacio e Pepe and consisted of spaghetti chitarra, pecorino toscano, earthy truffle oil, parmigiano, topped with fresh oaky truffle shavings. The Maccheroncini al Ragu di Agnello was a pasta dish with juicy braised lamb and tomato sauce.
Seen in photos above: Left, Agnolotti di Buratta. Right, I finalized my night with an off the menu cocktail: Espresso Martini. This Espresso Martini was a boozy yet magical concoction with the proper amount of balance, as it contained the perfect ratio of liquor, coffee and sugar.
The cocktail menu is exquisite as it contains an array of cocktails, all the way from classic Italian cocktails such as Aperol Spritz, to innovative smoked cocktails like the Apple Picking, which features smoked bourbon, apple juice, lemon, and cinnamon.
The tasting included a sweet ending—a smooth house -made chocolate and fior de latte (flower of milk) gelato. Photo above shows an assortment of homemade gelatos.
L’Artista is a locale that’ll provide you with cozy yet fun ambiance, along with items that’ll have your tastebuds asking for more. Chef Rizzo brings Northern Italy to Hamilton Heights and provides all patrons with freshly made dishes every single day—you can’t go wrong with Italian food that is made from scratch on a daily basis. With this being stated, all family dinners, date nights, girls’ nights, and more can definitely be accommodated at L’ Artista with mouthwatering dishes and live music that’ll provide everlasting memories.
For more updates on L’Artista’s delectable menu, follow the account on Instagram over at: @lartistanyc.
L’Artista Italian Kitchen Bar, 142 Hamilton Place (betw 143rd/144th St and Amsterdam/Broadway)