Cititour: The New York Guide to Events, Restaurants, Music, and Nightlife

English is Italian

English is Italian

Cuisine: Italian

Cititour Review: One of the toughest questions facing New Yorkers is where to go a for a big group dinner. So many restaurants seem ill equipped to handle large parties, or when they can, it takes an hour for the group to actually order dinner. So, provided your group is made of reasonably open-minded eaters, head straight to English is Italian. For one thing, the beautifully designed room – which recently housed Tuscan – is perfectly set up for such gatherings, with many large round tables, some that accommodate up to 10 (complete with Lazy Susans in the center). Second, famed chef Todd English’s clever concept is quite simple: $39 per person buys three large courses – antipasti, pasta and meat (includes fish, fowl and meat) – of whatever the house chooses to serve. No time wasted discussing who’s getting what, who wants to share, who can’t eat what. (Okay, maybe a little time, since desserts and beverages are extra, and there are a handful of supplemental items, including the divine tableside-prepared mozzarella, which is worth both the $15 and the calories.) And here’s the really good news: I had no real complaints about any of the 15 dishes that we sampled. But since your meal could differ from mine – the menu may change in a couple of weeks -- I will simply mention a few things that I think English should always keep on the menu: baby asparagus with fried egg and walnut pesto; rare chunks of seared tuna; ricotta-filled ravioli topped with a lusty Bolognese sauce; superb butternut squash-filled tortellini in a sage-butter sauce, wonderful squab-filled agnolotti; and fall-off-the bone beef short ribs accompanied by celery root and celery puree. While you do get a long break from decision-making, the choice of dessert is up to you. One choice you should not make is to forego the finale. You can diet tomorrow! A none-too-famished party of four could have fun splitting a plate that includes a small hazelnut bombe, a scoop of dark chocolate sorbet, a petite chocolate souffle cake, and a slab of hazelnut brittle –all delicious! A moist-as-can-be almond cake encasing a layer of fried pineapple crowned with an amaretto semifreddo is a revelation, as are the house’s hot, fluffy, greaseless zeppoles, accompanied by a trio of sauces (chocolate, caramel and mascarpone). Even the cookie/biscotti plate is both copious and superb. Viva l’English!
Review By: Brian Scott Lipton

Neighborhood: East 40s

English is Italian
622 Third Avenue (at 40th Street)
New York, NY

Entree Price: >$30