By A. Brooks, Photos by Doug Forbes
Dining at IL VALENTINO OSTERIO was truly like being swept away to a Tuscan villa in the Italian country-side, surrounded by good food, family and friends!
Greeted by general manager, Vittorio and his talented staff, my guest and I were immediately welcomed as family to the warm and intimate Italian eatery. Restaurateur Mirso Lekic has brought his 20-year tradition of serving Tuscan cuisine to the upper east side, relocating from his original location in the Sutton Hotel (mid-town); where the elegant spot was a frequent hangout of celebrities, business impresarios, political figures and utilized for United Nation events. Together, with Dan Sehic of C3D Architecture, they have created an authentic, Tuscan haven. An exposed brick oven is a focal point of the room and along the walls is a line of banquettes designed in leather with gold threading detail. Mango wood table tops and chairs with metal legs, mix traditional and modern design elements to give a rich and rustic feel to the room.
Executive Consulting Chef Erminio Conte, formerly the Executive Chef of Serafina, and Sous Chef Lauro Sucuz, formerly of Petaluma and Elios, have carried over their menu from the original location. Each day the staff freshly bakes all of the breads and pizzas, including their signature Truffle Pizza, with fresh black truffle, fontina cheese, ricotta, homemade fresh mozzarella and truffle oil. Signature dishes include the Cavatelli al Porfumo, with homemade
pasta shells tossed with tomatoes, mozzarella and fresh basil or the Pasta Nera con Gamberi e Asaparagi, with black tagliolini, shrimp, asparagus and tomatoes.
Our first day of sailing took us down the Sakonnet river to Cuttyhunk, Massachusetts, a remote island off the coast of Cape Cod. That night we dined on delicious fresh lobster. The menu changes daily with such fabulous gourmet dishes as Sea Bass, Mahi Mahi, Salmon, lamb chops, fresh vegetables, fruits and meats.
There is also a full breakfast and lunch every day with mouth-watering delights. In addition, wine and beer are complimentary with every meal. Our second day was my favorite port, picturesque Nantucket. Our guided tour
took us to Nantucket’s quiet harbors, sandy beaches and elegant mansions. Nantucket is a must on your bucket list. Day three was a visit to world famous
Martha’s Vineyard, with “Ginger Bread” cottages of many vibrant colors. Martha’s Vineyard is only accessible by boat or air. It’s a very affluent summer
haven with many celebrities making their homes here. Martha’s Vineyard is also known for its laid back lifestyle, red clay architecture and its natural
My guest and I began our culinary adventure with freshly baked bread, served with a heavenly eggplant puree; both made on-site. For theantipasto, we tried the delicious Polpo Alla Griglia: charred baby octopus over a chick pea stew and fennel puree and the Polpette: mini meatballs in tomato sauce that surround a pouched egg, draped over feta and croutons, are beyond amazing. For the secondi piatti, we try two specials of the evening: the Orata, a fish served with a white wine sauce, lemon and capers, paired with mussels and shrimp. The Bisteca alla Firoentina, a thick cut, but not over seasoned rib eye
steak, was served with wedged potatoes and grilled vegetables. Both were ample and hearty servings. And for dessert, we ordered the tiramasu and paired it with the Fall Blackberry cocktail: with vodka, lemon juice, agave syrup, earl grey tea and prosecco. A true Tuscan meal fit for a royal family… as we truly felt we were.
IL VALENTINO OSTERIA is located at 1078 1st Avenue, NYC. For reservations, please call 212-784-0800 or visit www.ilvalentinonyc.com.