My dining companion claimed to be an osso buco enthusiast with a track record of disappointment. He raved about Gabbiano's rendition, carefully braised to a tender but not mushy state and rising from a shimmering pond of demi-glace. A petite fork was provided for scooping out rich, fatty marrow from the bone. Fantastic stuff, even if risotto on the side underperformed because of overcooking.
A by-the-book saltimbocca was prepared flawlessly. Soft, thin fillets of veal were capped with crisp slices of prosciutto, laced with sage, and perked with garlic-sautéed spinach. A bottle of Barolo wine is perhaps best for fearlessly confronting — and then embracing — these potent flavors. A worthy Barolo, though, doesn't come cheap ($80 for an Alba to $250 for a Gaja).
A Sauternes-poached pear, whose plate was sprightfully speckled with berries and pooled with ethereal sabayon sauce spiked with amaretto liqueur, was a vision to behold. Tiramisu, boasting a keen coffee kick and chopped chocolate on top, also proved superior to most. So please, if any of your friends are Italian-food know-it-alls from the Northeast, persuade them to dine at Il Gabbiano. It will not only quiet them, but also do so in a New York minute.