Thursday, October 15, 2009

Malatesta-ing The Waters

Dear Mouse,

Dating. The final frontier. I'm giving it a shot. If I don't come back, you can have my ill-advised long sleeved romper from Free People. (Actually, it's been getting inexplicably rave reviews, but I digress.)

A friend of mine said recently that Google has killed the first date.. in other words, since two people interested in each other usually scramble for all basic stats on the internet prior to the actual ritual, gone is the 'So where did you grow up?' conversation of yesteryear. Or, if it happens, its kind of a flirtatious sham, since the research has already been done.

However, one early Fall evening recently, it so came to pass that The Date and I had each independently made a decision to forego the web when it came to each other. (A little sad, no? That this is revelatory?) "Right! I'll just ask you what I want to know", we practically said at exactly the same time over dinner at Malatesta. Which is what brings me to the focus of this post: Malatesta. Oh, and getting-to-know-you rituals, in-person, hands-on (hee hee), and, of course, via the magic of shared food.

Instructions for An Early Fall Date:

* 630PM - meet @18th St and 10th Ave, at the bottom of the stairs leading up to the Highline.
* Climb stairs. Ooh, the Highline looks awesome in the twilight. Oh look it just got dark and the lights came on. And the cityscape is all bright across the water. I guess we should just take a walk down to the end.
* Walk down to the end. Disembark @Gansevoort.
* Walk to Washington & Christopher. Oh look anItalian joint with outdoor and indoor seating, menus handwritten on cardboard (ok that always is a little too hipster for me), and reasonable prices. Note: Cash Only

*Order a bottle of Nero d'Avola. I chose it as a result of my patented, painstaking wine selection method --it was not the most or the least expensive, it was red, I recognized the word 'Nero' from somewhere in my past - and it is now my favorite. Mmmmm. Medium dry (I'm gonna say 'taut'), dark cherry and plum, medium body (someone said), dark and mysterious. Delicious. In order to save you from being the person drunkenly trying to surreptitiously take a picture of the bottle towards the end of the meal, I've transcribed the blurry image from my phone for you (not that I did that)

Pietragivana Monrrale Nero d'Avola
You're welcome.

I believe this is Italian for "one bottle of me and you will find yourself explaining the history of American Method Acting in what is probably a much too loud tone of voice". Charming.

* I think you will agree with me that, especially if it is your first time at Malatesta, there is no excuse at all for ordering anything other than The Steak Thing.
I found a picture of it on flickr. I was too busy eating to take one.

Honestly, I have eaten this every time I've been there, and I never remember the actual name - I can't read the menu scrawl. For your convenience, I have googled it (!) and it is Tagliata Al Casale.

It comes on what looks like a wooden cutting board with legs. Sliced, delicious steak in mouthful-size pieces, on a bed of wilted arugula, with thin, wide shavings of really good parmesan all over the top. I ordered it medium and it came medium rare, kinda red in places which turned out to be perfection. Salt crystals in the meat? I dont know; something is crunchy and delicate. Get meat and cheese and green on your fork, bite into soft charredness, make bedroom eyes.

Because it is kind of all too much for one person, allow me to suggest that you order both this and one pasta dish (gnocchi or rigatoni) and just reach into each others' plates. Hot. Trust me.

Dessert = Meh. I've never been into Italian desserts, honestly. But we got the creme caramel and it was creme-y and caramel-y. And it does allow some extra time for non-Google research; ie, conversation. Whatever you get, share it.


The Boo


SueP said...

Well, damn. I was just in NY last weekend; and could have used a 'steak thing.'

I've been lurking around your blog for nearly a year, and this is my first comment.

btw: totally took you up on your crossaint throwdown and Amy's rocks. I may have eaten two. But you can't prove it.

Thanks for the tips!

Anonymous said...

....sounds like a perfect evening (and for the record, I love that 'steak' thing too)

Anonymous said...

me too...probably, my favorite blog, if truth be told! sounds scrumptious...the whole evening - will def check out Malatesta...which means what?...sounds mischievious...thanks for all the guidance and just plain great reading

stellaforstar said...

Nero D'avola is always a slam dunk, and often the cheapest wine on the menu (flying in the face of my old wine-selecting method: choose the second cheapest one).