The past week, I took one of those luxurious lunch hours and went to Mia Dona. Why would I pick this place? Well, given to the fact that there’s been quite a bit of press from Alan Richman’s GQ blog, Ed Levine written a little post about it, and NY Magazine has a video about the food – all seem very positive and enticing that I thought to myself to go there and try it out.
As I was seated on toward the front of the house where they’re lined with leather banquettes and the white brick-lined walls were covered in black and white plates, this restaurant feels casual and it doesn’t make me feel like I’m in another one of those stuffy restaurants. Strangely, one of the staff members who were gathered at the end of the bar greeted me in a familiar way, my mind went scrambling to a phase of thinking, “Should I know her?” But as I settled down and perused the menu, she walked up to the table and started to chat with me and she told me she remembered me at Anthos (she was one of the hostesses) and now she’s working here. So that explains everything.
As you see from the menu above, everything sounds delicious and the food is within the moderate price range, as entrées don’t excel $24 (which is the mixed grill of meats and marrow). I ended up choosing the food from their prix fixe menu, just to sample their food at something that is relatively affordable.
Focaccia + head of sweet, roasted garlic
The notable things from this particular bread basket were slices of the tomato-y, cheesy, rosemary flavored soft focaccia and a head of roasted garlic. The latter was notable since there wasn’t any butter in sight. But when I smeared a whole clove, the caramelized, olive oil and rosemary scented garlic flavor melded well with the focaccia and the peasant bread that I don’t miss the butter.
Grilled Calamari & Caponata Salad
The grilled calamari and caponata salad was my appetizer. This particular salad is a slight nod to Chef Psilakis’ Greek roots even though it’s mostly Italian fare. The tender calamari with the soft, silky eggplant, onions, tomatoes, and other vegetables entice my tastebuds. Its an amalgamate of sweet, tart, and savory that hits every note wonderfully. To contrast the soft textures of this salad, were slices of grilled pita bread schmeared with tangy feta cheese, to act as a tastier version of croûtons.
I don’t know if you knew this about me, besides I like weird food, is that I’m a sucker for comfort food that’s has an unusual twist? Well, now you know. Hence my reason of ordering the meatloaf or what the menu said, “Polpettone.” Also if you saw the video that I’ve linked much earlier on this post, you should have seen the oozy egg yolk – I mean, when I saw it that screams food seduction. Hahaha… Just look at the photo below for my own oozy yolk.
Does it taste as good as it looks? Oh yeah… The meatloaf isn’t as dense as I have anticipated except once you eat it with the egg, it adds substance and toned down the acidic sauce that accompanied the meat. The hen of the woods mushrooms added a subtle earthy flavor to the dish. As I kept on eating this dish, I noticed that I’m getting really full. But I kept on going for dessert.
Even though I ordered one dessert, the gianduja semifreddo, they actually served me two. The complimentary dessert was cannoli. Usually, I’m not a fan of cannoli because they tend to be dense and the fried shell doesn’t taste right whenever I order it. But this isn’t the same thing. The shell was actually a tuile, that is filled with marscapone ice cream flavored with candied orange peel and served with a scoop of ricotta ice cream with nuances of cinnamon. This was pretty damn awesome.
Except my conscience was screaming at me that my stomach’s filled to capacity. And I have a plate of gianduja semifreddo that is staring straight at my face. Buh. I wish I had an extra stomach but I kept going and ate the generous slab of chocolate hazelnutty goodness. This semifreddo was chocolatey, dense, and it’s bursting with buttery, nutty flavor from the hazelnut brittle sprinkled generously on top this slice of creaminess.
After finishing that gut-busting, delicious meal, I had to run back to work since I took a generous hour and a half lunch!
206 E 58th Street
New York, NY 10022
The food looks good and the menu reads well – seems like quite a good find in the “food wasteland” you described as the area in which you work!
Rich: The food is definitely delicious and I’m tempted to go there again! …For both lunch and dinner!
Well, it’s a bit of a walk from where I work (about 12 blocks) and I did take the liberty to eat out for a while. Thankfully, my supervisor didn’t mind at that time.
ohh everything looks so good!! i really need to go out more i miss eatting good food. ;.;
and the price at the place is really nice too! $25 isnt bad at all
Giulia: Yes! It was all so tasty. I wanna go back…
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That looks incredibly delicious! I don’t care much for meatloaf, but if it came with runny egg innards I’d probably change my mind.
I like how they served the focaccia with roasted garlic instead of butter, which is pretty unique.
And the desserts, wow!
That meatloaf just looks ridiculous. How do they even get an egg in there that is still soft in the center? Mia Dona definitely looks like a place to try, thanks!
As long as you make up the time I guess! ^^
How far is 12 blocks, sorry? Over here we go by time, ha ha.
Just seen your pics for Islero too… Wow! Look forward to reading the write up while I’m sitting at my desk eating a sandwich, ha ha.
Christina: It’s all NOM NOM!
Danny: I don’t know how they can stuff the egg in that meatloaf, but it’s awesome!
Rich: Uh, 12 blocks when I was walking my way back (in a semi-rushed pace) is like…20 minutes?
In terms of the Islero review, you have to wait for that since I still have to write something about Bar Boulud. Buh, I’m really procrastinating…
I was not terribly impressed. We were rushed. The service staff was more concerned with getting my table out and ready for the next group. We asked 3 times for more bread. It finally came with our entrees. My wine glass remained empty even though there was a bottle at my table. The host who brought the bottle over from the bar when we finally were seated clearly saw that my glass was empty and just put the bottle on the table. I expect the wait staff to pour in a restaurant like this. My salad was over dressed. The diver scallops had too many flavors going on at once. The beat side dish was fair and the ramps were tough difficult to cut and chewy.The gelato was a let down. One was bitter, one was waxy, one was okay, but store bought is better. One guest had the meat loaf which was delicious. Prices are fair; wine was fine but this is yet another restaurant that is more hype than substance in my opinion. I don’t know if I would give it a second chance.
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