Portale has a menu full of the dishes you want to eat now, if you are in the market for healthy cuisine. He treats his super fresh ingredients with pure love. Expect to receive a nice mix of seasonal dishes with a light touch: interesting salads, unusual pastas and an assortment of grilled meats and fish that are simply done in the most elevated way.
Our dinner began with a cauliflower salad in a creamy Italian dressing. (seen in the photo at the top of this post) The Insalata Di Cavolfiore had such a surprising and nice combination of ingredients: a very thinly shaved cauliflower, radishes, sunchokes, apples, tardivo (radicchio), pecans, with a sprinkling of fresh dill. I can’t think of anything better to eat on these (lately) hot summer days. Right, note the plexiglass dividers which give each table a nice sense of privacy. (these have since been removed)
The restaurant fills the space of renovated carriage house, in a mid-century inspired minimalist setting. The high ceilings with rustic touch really add to the ambiance.
One of my summer go-tos, an Italian cold seafood salad. This one was a wonderful mix of extremely fresh and soft seafood, mixed with lively greens. The Frutti Di Mare showcased nicely chilled lobster, scallops, octopus, shrimp, avocado, and lemon. Right: I am still on the sparkling rose kick.
We got a bottle of the French White Burgundy from a boutique vineyard, Vincent & Sophie Morey. According to the sommelier, members of two separate farming families united to produce this series. The 2018 Chassagne Montrachet Vieilles Vignes Tasting Notes: Sweet lime nose with white flower floral overtones—very perfumed. Typical Chassagne corn bread, and like a macaroon cookie or a piece of candy. Very sweet on the finish, a beautiful village level wine. Right, Cappellacci (a stuffed pasta) was adorned with English peas, pea greens, pancetta, pecorino, and mint in a light broth.
I haven’t had duck for a while, and this treatment worked great with the summer heat. The Anatra roast duck breast, came with riso nero, tokyo turnips, and poached rhubarb. We also got a side order of the Funghi, which arrived as a fantastic mix of mushrooms: cremini, hen of the woods, and shiitake.
Feeling a little celebratory, we opted for dessert, and could not be happier than to receive this item: Ricotta Cheesecake in a buckwheat graham cracker crust, with strawberries and marcona almonds. We thought it looked odd, and nothing like a cheesecake when it landed, but then tapped the crisp top with a spoon to reveal the lusciousness below. I have to say, each dish we ordered equally had a nice little surprise.
After dessert we were able to get a glass of the wine we were drinking by the bottle, thanks to the Coravin System! Thank you Coravin!
Portale, 126 West 18th Street (betw Sixth/Seventh Ave)