The Best Italian Restaurant In Manhattan
Originally Brandon and I planned to go on our honeymoon a bit after our wedding. The winter holidays gave us some leeway with vacation days, and we figured we could go farther. We set our eyes on Fiji. The idea of doing nothing on a warm, white-sand beach in the dead of winter sounded relaxing beyond belief. We couldn't figure out what to do post-Fiji (I know, #firstworldproblems) but assumed we'd trek over to New Zealand or Australia, since both were fairly close. We had so much going on with wedding planning that we just decided to wait to plan the whole thing until after our nuptials.
In the meanwhile, we kept talking about Italy. If you read this blog often, you'll know that my obsession runs deep. My parents immigrated to America while stopping in Italy. My father, a born-and-raised Ukrainian Jew must have been Italian in a past life. Pasta is the mutual language we share. Brandon and I kept talking about how much we wanted to experience Italy together. We talked about going next summer, or potentially a quick visit to Rome in the spring. We didn't care when, we just wanted to GO.
And then, something funny happened... a light bulb went off in my head. "Why don't we just go to Italy on our honeymoon?" I thought to myself. Why not scrap our plans of waiting, nix Fiji, hop on a plane right after the big day and head straight for the land of romance? Why not take a red-eye and wake up in Venice, excited to sip espresso and dance in the Piazza San Marco? And so, we turned our plans on their head, and off to Italia we go.
After we set our heart on this change, we wanted to pump our blood with a little red wine and carbohydrates, so we went to a highly-regarded Florentine restaurant in the west village, i sodi. How can I even explain the perfection of this family-owned restaurant to you? I can't do it justice, but I will try hard enough to get you there. The doorway is so tiny that two people can't stand in it at once. There are a total of 8 tables in the whole place. The bar makes a stellar negroni. The waiters are kind, patient, and generous with the warm grilled bread and olives they serve you upon ordering. The pasta is magnificent, the portions a plenty. The ambiance is charming and cozy, and the food is refined without being stuck up.
It is challenging to make a reservation, so I recommend you just make one, even if it's two months away. If you forget, and you probably will, you'll be so happy to get that e-mail notification, letting you know that tomorrow you'll be feasting like Tuscan royalty at i sodi, should you so please.
If you're wondering what we ate, I'll tell you. We started with two dirty martinis and an order of steak tartare. We nibbled and picked and sipped and when the plates were clear and the glasses empty, we had a special salad of radicchio, pear, walnuts and ricotta cheese. We moved onto wine, and slurped up a plate of the BEST spaghetti cacio e pepe on this side of the Atlantic. Finally, we shared dessert: lasagna with meat sauce; that's my version of dessert anyways. Paper thin sheets of pasta delicately nestled with meat sauce and ricotta cheese, warm and bubbly. We couldn't decide who gets the last piece, so we shared it, and then we clinked our glasses one last time and piled into an uber home...plump, happy, and invigorated by all that awaits us in the coming weeks.
photo courtesy of i sodi