The Citiblog

Lodi Rocks at Rock Center
July 1, 2024, 6:43.08 pm ET



Just as the pandemic was hitting, chef and restaurateur Ignacio Mattos took a big gamble opening at Rockefeller Center, or maybe it was the other way around. In the end, Lodi was born just steps away from the ice rink in view of the mythical God of Fire, Prometheus. The move lambasted by some lit a fire in the heart of midtown.

Lodi would serve as an anchor for others to follow - Le Rock from the Frenchette team, Italian at Jupiter, modern Korean at Naro, and more recently oysters and cocktails from Smith & Mills. Each is now a dining destination in its own right, but it was Mattos’ vision that got the ball rolling.

Eating at Lodi goes beyond tourist destination fare. Here you will find tasty plates of briny oysters with horseradish mignonette; plump sausages served with wonderful potato salad; Octopus with cucumber and sumac; and marinated eggplant with pine nuts and fennel.

Dive deeper into a plate of Picci All’Arrabbiato, thick strands of hand-made pasta prepared with cured pork jowl, tomato, pecorino and chili; Tagliata made withy strips of Wagyu beef, artichoke, fava and arugula; and Cotoletta Milanese, a giant breaded pork chop (easily shared by two or three) offered with a series of lively accompaniments like Bomba, Dijon and Aoli.

For a sweet finish there is Tiramisu with mascarpone and a heavy dusting of cocoa along with other offerings such as Torta di Carote, a carrot-buckwheat cake with carrot cream and ganache, and Torta Purgatorio, hazelnut-ricotta cake with praline and chocolate mouse.

Cocktails worth seeking out include the Toki Highball with toki, pineapple amaro and pineapple club soda; Violetta with Bacanora Blanco, butterfly pea flower, lime and grapefruit; and the Rockefeller Martini with choice of gin or vodka with vermouth secco and seasonal garnishes.

Currently Lodi is offering dining al fresco in the nearby plaza while the weather permits as well as inside. During our visit, both the food and service were excellent, making Lodi one tourist attraction you won’t want to miss.

- Thomas Rafael