Portale Restaurant, New York, NY: The Lowdown with Mikey B!

If you want a great Italian meal, try one of New York City’s most recent additions: Portale Restaurant.

The new contemporary Italian restaurant is located at 126 West 18th Street (between 6th and 7th Avenues). It opened in mid-November.

The eponymous restaurant is the first solo restaurant venture from Chef Alfred Portale, a three-time James Beard Award winner. The chef is well-known in New York City for his approximately 30-year tenure as Gotham Restaurant’s Executive Chef in the East Village.

Portale’s decor is subtle and classy. Brick walls are painted in a creamy off-white. Mirrors and art portraits line the walls. Pin-point spot lighting provides a calming, dimly lit atmosphere without being so dark that you can’t read the menu or take an Instagram photo.

There are two dining rooms. Patrons will walk into the front dining room which accommodates about 20 diners; the adjacent dining room seats about 60 patrons.

Wooden tables for two line one wall. Circular marble tables that seat four line the center of the dining room. The opposite wall is lined with dark green leather banquettes that accommodate groups of various sizes.

For a starter, you may want to try the Cavatelli di Ricotta ($19) The bite -sized morsels of pasta are made in-house and come cooked al dente. It came doused in an arrabiata sauce and laid on top of a pesto sauce.

You may also want to try the Risotto Al Funghi ($25). The Chanterelle mushrooms, spinach and fontina cheese make each forkful a bouquet of flavor with hints of white wine, chicken stock and cilantro.

For a main, you may want to try the Branzino ($31). It comes accompanied with delicata squash, red swiss chard and sun-dried tomatoes. It came pan-seared, cooked to a perfect temperature.

You may want to wash it all down with a glass of Etna Rosso ($16), a Sicilian Red wine. It was light with tastes of oak with hints of red fruit.

To wrap up the meal, you can’t go wrong with the milk chocolate tiramisu ($14) It was made of milk chocolate mascarpone sprinkled with candied cacao nibs and served on a ladyfinger bed with a side dollop of creamy, Espresso gelato.

For an excellent Italian meal in downtown New York City, try Portale Restaurant.

That’s the Lowdown!


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