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« Class: “Handmade Pasta for Future Chefs" at The French Culinary Institute | Main | Montauk in pictures: August 2009 »
Monday
Aug102009

Brunch/lunch at Emporio




  • Cuisine: Italian, Pizza (with an emphasis on organic and sustainable ingredients)
  • Atmosphere: spacious, rustic, exposed-brick walls, fire place
  • Attire: smart-casual, trendy
  • Ideal for: trendy, foodies, people-watching, small plates, pizza, group dining, 1x1/date night
  • Must try: Pizza, anything with homemade sausage
  • Price: Brunch menu items, all under $19
  • Reservations: Via phone or opentable.com
  • Phone: (212) 966-1234
  • Website: www.emporiony.com
  • Location: 231 Mott St., (Btwn Spring & Prince)
  • *Special note* Beer, wine and soju (rice wine) only

 

 

*All of my photos from this meal can be viewed on Flickr

What’s the space like?

Rustic, warm and charming: Exposed brick walls and heating pipes, skylight-enclosed patio, menu specials written on framed chalkboards, and floor-to-ceiling windows that open on to Mott Street.

How was the service?

The service was unmemorable for the most part, except for this: “Can we add artichokes and sausage to the San Marzano (buffalo mozzarella, basil and tomatoes) pizza?” I asked. Just as the server’s eye brows rose in response to my question, so did his attitude. He advised that the restaurant DID NOT honor menu substitutions. “But why not,” I asked, “I know that your pies aren’t pre-made, so why can’t you throw on some additional toppings? We’re willing to pay extra. Plus, we’re the only party in the front dining room!” Um, what?

Did you drink?

Yes, I had a glass of the Guava Frizzante (prosecco + guava puree) that tasted like cheap watered-down brut without the slightest hint of guava.

How was the food?

Emporio’s brunch menu seemed much more lunch-driven, only containing four “breakfast-y” items. Here’s what Emily and I ordered to share:

  • Grilled chicken and avocado salad: “Come on Em, chicken is so boring. Let’s get the grilled shrimp salad!” I said. Before I could defend my choice any longer, our waiter approached and gushed, “the chicken and avocado salad is my favorite…I highly recommend it.” And we did just that…Unfortunately. A hodge-podge of romaine, arugula and those yellowish dandelion/weed-looking leaves came lightly tossed in Caesar dressing (that tasted identical to the bottled crap you buy at the grocery store). I counted only two slices of avocado, and the grilled chicken was literally an unseasoned breast that must have been thrown on the grill five-minutes post order. The sliced breast meat was steaming hot and flavorless, reminding me how much I hate eating cool salad greens with warm chunks of protein.
  • San Marzano pizza topped with artichoke hearts and homemade sausage: Well, as you can see, the server/kitchen agreed to add our two requested toppings on to the pie. Even still, I really didn’t know what to expect from the pizza, given how disappointed I was by the salad. To my pleasant surprise, it was extraordinarily delicious: Thin, yet not too crunchy, the matzo-colored crust was topped with crushed San Marzano tomatoes, fresh buffalo mozzarella, whole basil leaves, roasted and quartered artichoke hearts, and evenly-dispersed mounds of homemade Italian pork sausage. Cut in to four ample slices, Emily and I each devoured our respective halves.

What’s pricing like?

Emporio’s prices are pretty decent:

  • Guava Frizzante: $8
  • Grilled chicken & avocado salad: Not yet listed on menu
  • San Marzano pizza topped with artichokes and sausage: $15

Will you return to Emporio?

Although it’s not destination-worthy, I would return to Emporio if I was in the neighborhood.

xo,

TLB

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