At the heart of Midtown, the brand new par excellence of Ramerino Italian Prime Restaurant takes you into a Tuscan escape through a great selection of Italian haute cuisine.
The newly debuted restaurant opened its doors earlier this month by industry veteran and owner of San Marino SoHo and Antica Ristorante Sammy V. Gashi. The Tuscan-styled restaurant is located adjacent to the Hyatt hotel and is minutes from Bryant Park and the New York Public Library. Their rooftop is set to open later this month.
The name, Ramerino translates to Rosemary commonly found in Tuscany and one of the many main ingredients for the perfect herbal touch.
Upon arriving, you’re met by the hostess and escorted into an open, warmly lit dining room, with a corner adorned with wine bottles to build upon that Italian aesthetic – very traditional and charming. The tables are draped in white linen and livened by an eclectic bunch of centerpieces; by this, I mean a plate with salami, and aged parmesan, paired with a choice of white or wheat bread and home-made butter. One can snag seats in the tranquil outdoor patio for an al fresco experience.
Cocktails are recommendable (don’t forget to try the off-the-menu chocolate martini), specifically the Watermelon cocktail for a sweet pick-me-up, perhaps even better to drink as a dessert. Ramerino offers a great selection of wines from Italy and California that you can indulge in, whether seated or by the front bar. But the star of the night, and will always be, is a lightly iced Aperol Spritz that just hits the spot while nibbling appetizers – a nostalgic feeling of nights in Italy and Italian cocktail culture.
Other cocktails included Paloma, Espresso Martinis, Manhattans, and Old Fashioneds.
We were greeted by Chef Vilfredo Hodai, who was in energetic spirits despite being in the kitchen on a summer day. His experience in the culinary arts comes from years of working for La Giostra. He was excited to share his homemade recipes topped with a traditional flair. Hodai comes from a full arsenal of authentic Italian cuisine.
He comments, “It’s great to see how many visitors we’ve had come through the doors since we opened. I’m honored to be a part of it.”
The Carciofi E Avocado appetizer was perfect. Resting on a bed of arugula and topped with thirty-four-month-aged parmesan cheese. The first bite is refreshing and balanced as creamy avocado meets tender sections of artichoke. Not heavy.
The light char on the Polpo Alla Griglia really amplified the octopus’s meaty & mild profile. It was paired with a bright chickpea purée that reminded me of a Mediterranean dish I’d find along the coasts of Santorini.
The special appetizer of the evening is scallops nestled into a zingy mix of broccoli rabe, cherry tomatoes, olives, and peppers. However, the scallops took a backseat to the vegetables sautéed to perfection, and the peppers added the right amount of heat. I could have eaten an entire plate of vegetables alone.
Tartar Di Fileto fresh and delicate. The creamy burrata only adds to the rich mouthfeel and flavor that felt addicting. The kicker for the night was the Cacio e Pepe made of homemade tonnarelli, Pecorino Romano DOP, tellicherry black pepper, and grated 24-month age Parmigiano-Reggiano. The pasta melts in your mouth instantly with each bite leaving you with a strong heritage of Italian tradition. Did I mention all the pasta is house-made?
I loved the numerous tableside offerings. One of my favorite dishes of the night, and an entree of choice, is Ramerino’s Branzino. I watched as our waiter skilfully carved and deboned a plump sea bass, roasted and stuffed with garlic cloves & rosemary, before placing it onto a hot plate for its final presentation – the sizzling! A generous dousing of clarified butter and even more garlic sizzled and fragranced the air, flagrant, before being set in front of me. Each bite was tender, flaky, and sweet.
Reporting by Alison Andrea Lopez
LOCATION: 16 East 39th Street, New York, NY 10016
PHONE: (646) 880-7885
Monday – Friday: 12 pm – 3:30 pm; 4:45 pm – 10:30 pm
Saturday: 4:45 pm – 11 pm