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Dinner at Tre Dici, 5/27/08


While it's outstanding to be fortunate enough to have an excellent neighborhood Italian restaurant within half a block of where you live, it's also embarrassing that it's taken me a year to finally try the place! So I figured that Tre Dici would be the perfect spot to celebrate my cousin, Eric's, move to Manhattan to attend law school. Coincidentally, Eric was staying with a buddy who lives in my building, so we decided to meet in the lobby and walk the short trek over to Tre Dici together.

We arrived for dinner at 6 p.m. and were seated immediately. Even though the hour was on the earlier side, Tre Dici's tables and bar were beginning to fill up. The space had honey-washed wood walls, a sea of perfectly set crisp white table cloths, lipstick-red leather chairs and various dimly-lit modern chandeliers and sconces. Though the restaurant wasn't large, it was laid out brilliantly; with the bar taking center stage, then a dining room on each of its sides. My only complaint would be the near-deafening acoustics.

After placing our drink orders, an attractive basket of bread and garlic/chili infused olive oil arrived. Unfortunately, the bread didn't taste as lovely as it looked. Without reference to the lavash crackers, every roll had the texture of day-old Irish Soda Bread, which is naturally dry and flaky...Not what I was expecting from Tre Dici. Eric and I decided to split the panzanella salad for an appetizer, and for entrees, I chose the Kobe Beef Ravioli and he went with the Veal Chop Parmesan.

The panzanella salad arrived about ten minutes after we ordered. Served on a squared plate were fresh quarters of tomatoes, thinly sliced cucumber, slivers of purple onion, radichio leaves and toasted and buttered day-old bread all blended together with feta dices and light vinaigrette. The farm-fresh quality of the vegetables mixed with the buttery and salty toasted bread was perfectly married with the subtlety of the sour vinegar dressing.

Not long after we'd nearly licked our salad plate clean, I saw our entrees coming towards us. I had to do a triple take when I saw a large object sticking out a foot long off of my cousin's veal chop plate. What looked like a breaded tennis racket covered with cherry-red marinara sauce and bubbling white mozzerella cheese was Eric's Flinstone-esque veal chop. God forbid the restaurant was being held up, Eric could have defended himself, and probably the rest of the diners, with this massive carnivorous weapon. If someone got whacked with that bone, they'd be knocked unconscious or...Dead! I was relieved to see that my Kobe Beef Ravioli was much more, how can I put this...Sophisticated looking. Floating atop a shallow pool of browned butter and black truffle sauce, were five large homemade ravioli pillows topped with fresh thyme and a drizzle of Marsala. The handmade ravioli were stuffed to the brim with silky, stewed Kobe beef. I could taste the subtle truffle essence, which is normally overpowering, but not here. The flavors of salt, butter, thyme, pasta, Kobe beef, freshly ground pepper and black truffle were truly in a league of their own; a compilation of the highest quality ingredients combined to create one of the best pasta dishes I've had in my life. Oh, and what did my cousin think of his caveman's dinner? He finished his entire plate!

I couldn't be more pleased to have Tre Dici not only in my neighborhood, but literally, down my street! I highly recommend trying this unassuming Italian located on one of the most random restaurant streets in town! And last but not least, welcome to New York, Cousin Eric!

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