After ending a very New York sort of evening at the Whitney museum, a good friend of mine insisted on a culinary bypass before we called it a night. Bella Blu, one of her prized Italian joints in the city just didn’t sound worth the hullabaloo to me. Let’s face it, apart from very few places, the Upper East Side is hardly the pulse of Manhattan. More importantly, is it ever on a gourmand’s radar?
Surprisingly, the food was eventful. First off, the sun-dried tomato tapenade accompanied with bread was delicious. It was oily and had an aromatic ratio of onion, garlic, tomato, pepper, and anchovies.
The Cestini, their most basic pizza creation can be best described as appetizing elegance. A simple thin crust topped with olive oil and tomato paste that had a little kick to it. Beautiful.
We also ordered the Sauteed baby artichokes salad with pistachio, mâche, baby greens and parmesan. While it was a pleasant salad, it had quite a blunt tone. Perhaps a little zing of citrus or spice would’ve livened it up.
The Penne with fresh tuna, capers, oregano, gaeta olives and tomato sauce was exceptionally good. The capers and olives shaped most of the dish’s flavor. The penne was done al dente in a way that I can only dream of replicating.
All in all, it was quite impressive for the Upper East Side whose culinary scene is usually limited to a pricey bill and pedestrian food.
967 Lexington Ave.
70th St. and 71st St.
New York, NY 10079