Friday, January 27, 2012

Checking Out Pizza and Dessert at Donatella

Brussels Sprouts Special Pizza
New York is filled with Italian restaurants. Most offer the same basic menu hovering around the same price point, but few are actually something to seek out. There are a number of good Italian restaurants that stand out above these "dime a dozen" ones, but they'll usually cost you a pretty penny. Last week, I was turned onto a good Italian spot that won't break your bank: Donatella.

Fried Calamari
When Donatella opened in October 2010, almost all of the press was about its gilded pizza oven, all sparkly and gold. It's still a sparkly, sitting at the back of the restaurant. But for my group, we were mainly there for dessert, not the oven or to really load up on the savory offerings. We did, however, get the fried calamari along with two pizzas. The calamari was expertly breaded and fried--a crunchy exterior without getting greasy--with enough round and tentacle pieces for everyone. Don't you just love the tentacle pieces?! Of the two pies, I preferred the day's special which was topped with prosciutto and Brussels sprouts. Slightly charred chunks of sprouts nestled in with excellent mozzarella topped with lean thin slices of prosciutto should make anyone happy.

But the most exciting part of our meal was the *PHENOMENAL* desserts. Pastry Chef Andrea Jarosh is doing good things in that kitchen. I knew I was going to like the zeppoli and cannolis--they're my two most favorite Italian desserts, but I was shocked to fall in love with their tiramisu, a dessert that is commonly mediocre at best. The mousse is light and yet still decadent, and perfectly complemented by the layer of house-made chocolate ladyfingers. Chef Jarosh also gives the bottom layer the soaking it deserves complete with Frangelico. If you're a tiramisu-lover, you should definitely make a point of stopping by for this.

Another dessert that blew us away was the off-the-menu cupcakes. Chef Jarosh sent out a plate of three: red velvet, pistachio, and Nutella praline, each with the perfect amount of delicious Italian meringue buttercream frosting. All three were gobbled down, but the clear winner among my group was the Nutella praline. Chocolate cake with a Nutella and wafer filling topped by gilded hazelnuts allowed for an enjoyable experience with various textures. It's easy to see that her inspiration was the Italian candy, Baci, and she definitely pulls it off.

For more on Chef Jarosh and the desserts at Donatella, head on over to DessertBuzz where there's a more complete rundown of their dessert menu, and an interview with the chef.

184 8th Avenue
(212) 493-5150

1 comment:

Hungry said...

That pizza sounds amazing! Prosciutto and Brussels sprouts?! Heavenly. And to wash it down with phenomenal desserts? I have to get there soon.