I hate people who are not serious about their meals. -- Oscar Wilde

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Don Antonio

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: Fried dough salad is the anti-Atkins

Like the food nerd I am, I was excited with the opening of Don Antonio’s. A master Neapolitan pizza maker opening up their own place here in New York would make anyone that likes pizza perk up. However, the only catch is that it is located in Hell’s Kitchen. I rarely am in Hell’s Kitchen and it is a notorious dead zone for food. If I am in the area, it is usually, tacos or Sullivan St. bread. However, friend lives in the area so I do make the venture there and finally I made a stop here at Don Antonio. 

Angiolette- not just a tomato salad

The place is a bit hard to find sandwiched in between tall office buildings. I came in on a Saturday afternoon and the place had a few people but not horribly busy. The restaurant is actually somewhat small, but looks big because it is an alley-like design and the bar is quite big. The menu has a lot of pies and has the trendy Montanara pie on it. I decided to start off with the Arancini and the Fritattatine- basically similar to an Arancini but instead of risotto, its pasta. 
Apparently, they somehow forgot to put in my order of the Arancini and the Fritattatine and took about a good half hour for it to finally show. Being nice, I gave them a good 15 minutes before I said something and realizing their mistake they gave me the Angiolette for free and as the waiter insisted, “I must eat something”.
The Angiolette is a salad of baby tomatoes, fried pizza dough strips and baby arugula. The pizza strips are under there…somewhere under the mountain of tomatoes. Apparently baby tomatoes are like Zimbabwe dollars and they were like giving that stuff away. This was the heaviest salad I ever had that did not contain meat. It was basically a deconstructed pie. The dough strips were light and crispy and came out piping hot. However I cannot really say the same for my Arancini or Fritattatine. They came out warm, but you could tell they were fried, and left in the window for a bit and cooling off too much. Both the Arancini and Fritattatine were donned with a cheesy, carbonara-like sauce. The outer shells of both were nice and crisp but they were just warm in the middle. The pasta in the Fritattatine was borderline raw and al dente and both were just heavy and cried for some kind of sauce. Also they were just sadly thrown onto the plate like a Jean Claude Van Dame movie in a bargain bin.

Fried noodle thing

 After a messy start, I was hoping for the pie to be a saving grace, I decided to go with the Griella, which is a mozzarella roulade of parma cotto and arugula and topped with more, surprise cherry tomatoes. The pie came out hot and it was good overall. The mix of tart tomatoes balanced the richness of the mozzarella. They were easy on the char here and the pie had a good enough chew, but I was expecting a bit more puff and airiness to the pie. The dough was a bit mono toned from the taste to construction. I thought the fried dough from the comped salad tasted better and had a lot more flavor. 


I think I may have overhyped this place in my head. Don Antonio’s I felt after eating here, is not a place that I would be going out of my way to go back to again. It unfortunately did not leave me wanting and craving more. The mix of the service hiccups and less than stellar appetizers rubbed me the wrong way. The pie was good enough, but it did not blow my mind and currently I am not rushing back to try it again. Or according to Eater, I cannot do that anyway because it is closed. Maybe after their DOH reopening, service as well as the pie will be stepped up. 


Don Antonio
309 West 50th Street
New York NY 10019

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