By David Minsky
By Jen Mangham
By Bill Wisser
By Laine Doss
By Bill Wisser
By Dana De Greff
By Laine Doss
By Zachary Fagenson
The main courses were even more impressive. Wednesday's nightly special is roast baby suckling pig, on the bone, perfumed with rosemary, marinated in mirto (Sardinian spirit made from myrtle berry), and cooked the age-old Sardi way by the fire of burning logs. The succulent pork came accompanied by roasted potatoes and a root-toot-tooty ratatouillelike eggplant/pepper ragu. Thursday's peasant-style stew wowed, too; fleshy lumps of baby lamb, still on the rib bones, came with a whole potato, whole carrot, stalk of celery, and sheets of cippolini onion in a light meaty broth. Whole free-range poussin (Cornish game hen) likewise exuded the splendor of smoke, and was bursting with plummy flavors from its marination in Cannonau, Sardinia's most renowned red wine. The little bird was sided by roasted beets and Brussels sprouts daring and delightful vegetable choices. Black Angus rib-eye steak receives just a pinch of salt and pepper prior to its flaming in the hearth, which of course is all it needs. The oven runs between 700 and 800 degrees.
Branzino baked in salt crust, a Venetian recipe, is presented at the table, whisked back to the kitchen for decrusting and deboning, and returned as pristine, juicy, mildly flavored white fillets delicious when kissed with a squeeze of lemon. The fish, also known as striped sea bass, is plated alongside logs of charred asparagus spears capped with melted Pecorino cheese.
Pastas were a tad less distinctive than the rest of the fare, yet orecchiette flecked with rapini and pieces of surprisingly mild wild boar sausage couldn't have been executed any better. Spaghetti with a one-pound lobster in its cut-up shell came soaked in a luscious seafood-infused red sauce rife with garlic, spicy buddin chives, and vermentino, a white Sardinian wine. The lobster was a little overcooked, the kitchen's only misstep.
Ripe, honey-soaked berries dotted a plate of chocolate hazelnut "fritters," a pair of fried, puck-size cakes with Nutella centers oozing out. Another innovative dessert brought ravioli stuffed with sweet Pecorino, orange and lemon peels, and minced mint, gracefully drizzled with chestnut honey, although after eating such rich fare, you might opt for some refreshing peach sorbet.
Sardinia's prices are also refreshing: Most pastas are $11 or $12 (the lobster version is $22), most main courses in the mid-twenties. Wine markups are kept in check as well. Upon completing your meal, you might even be treated to a complimentary round of orangecellos a Sicilian twist on limoncello. So just how good is Sardinia Enoteca Ristorante? Fuhgeddaboutit!