On Saturday night (Sept. 29, 2012) my husband and I went out with friends to Lattanzi here in NY City to celebrate our 29th wedding anniversary. Lattanzi is located in New York’s famous restaurant row. They serve classic Roman Italian food and Roman-Jewish food. The Roman-Jewish cuisine really interests me a lot. The Roman-Jewish community is the oldest in the world outside of Israel. The Jewish community in Rome has existed for over 2000 years, going back to the 2nd century B.C.E. The Jews were confined to the ghetto in Rome from the 16th century to the 19th century. Since they lived in a ghetto (*which is an Italian word, from Venetian dialect ghèto island where Jews were forced to live, literally, foundry (located on the island), fromghetàr to cast, from Latin jactare to throw), and were confined from the outside world, they were forced to come up with recipes that were creative but still kosher. Some of the ingredients that they used were artichokes, cheese and salt cod since these were inexpensive and readily available within the ghetto. Fish dishes were very prominent in the ghetto. The inhabitants used olive oil to fry their fish and their vegetables. Pine nuts and raisins were added to the recipes as well, which are popular ingredients in Italy whether you are Jewish or not. Before World War II there were over 50,000 Jews in Rome. Unfortunately, today only about 12,000.
I will be writing my review in sections. Food, Service, Atmosphere and Value.
As I mentioned I was quite interested in the Roman-Jewish menu. I started off with Carciofl alla Giudia which is their signature dish of artichokes cooked in the Jewish style: sauteed with garlic and olive oil. The flavor of this dish was wonderful. Just the right amount of garlic and the texture of the artichokes was very tender. They arranged 4 pieces on the plate which I felt was not enough for the price of $14.
For my main course I had Trigliette all’Ebraica which is Red snapper sauteed with garlic, olive oil, pine nuts, raisins and vinegar. The fish was seasoned perfectly and the vinegar was not overbearing. The Snapper was very flavorful and delicate. It was paired with sauteed vegetables and potatoes. I thoroughly enjoyed this entree and would order it again.
After we finished our entrees we ordered coffees and dessert. I have to say that they don’t do dessert as well as their other food. My husband and I shared a chocolate mousse. While the mousse was light and chocolatey, the whipped cream on the top was nothing special. It tasted like something that came out of a can. Our friends ordered the Tartufo which they said was terrible and sent it back. They decided on the cheesecake which they said wasn’t very good either and looked quite dry.
In addition to the pre-theatre, roman-jewish items, they also have a post-theatre menu. During Passover you can find a special Italian Passover menu. (not kosher).
The service was excellent. We were seated promptly and the waiters were very attentive and prompt. We were not rushed and were given as much time as we needed between courses.
Lattanzi is perfect for a date night as it’s very romantic and intimate. The decor is old world with it’s exposed brick walls and wooden beams on the ceiling but yet sophisticated and modern. This establishment was extremely spotless and clean.
Is any restaurant in NYC really worth the money? LOL!!! While the food and service were wonderful, I feel the value was not very good. Everything was quite pricey for the amount of food that you got. Would I go back? Yes I would but only for a special occasion. All in all I enjoyed Lattanzi very much and I highly recommend it.