Eggplant Parmigiano, not an easy dish to get right. Good that is. Tasty, prepared properly. Eggplant is a hard thing to work with, not everyone knows how, Giovanni Tognozzi and his boys (Cooks) know how .. They know their stuff those guys who work the kitchen at what I call New York’s Best Italian Restaurant, “Yes Bar Pitti.” Some may disagree, but they probably don’t know what they’re talking about, maybe they do. In that cas, lets just say “They have their opinion, I have mine,” and Bar Pitti is top notch, thee A # 1 Best Italian Restaurant in New York, not an easy task. They prove it over-and-over-again. They proved it to me again today, with the Meleanzane alla Parmigiano, it’s awesome, and as good as it gets. I should know, I’m Sicilian, and we eat more Eggplant than any other region of Italy. They eat a lot in Napoli, but the Sicilians have them beat. Sicilians are the King of Eggplant when it comes to Eggplant Dishes in Italy. The Sicilians have they famed dish Caponata, a sweet and sour eggplant stew that when done right, by a master, it simply devine, as is mine if I must say so myself. I worked on that recipe for more than a year, tweeking it, getting the right balance of eggplant to tomato to onions, to olive oil, celery, sugar and vinegar, topped off with some nice big fat Green Sicilian Olives. Dam, I’m getting hungry just thinking about it, The Caponata, “My caponata,” not many can make it as good as mine, “No Brag, Just Fact.”
Sicilian Eggpnat Dishes? They grill it and dress it with Olive Oil and Vinegar, season with salt & pepper of course. It’s quite a good antipasto item. The there’s the famed Pasta alla Norma, a pasta dish made with eggplant sauteed with garlic, olive oil, and tomatoes, and topped with grated Ricotta Salata Cheese .. You can use whatever pasta you like, Spaghetti, Bucatini, Cavatelli, Rigatone, whatever .. The best in New York can be found at Degrezia Restaurant on East 5oth Street in Midtown Manhattan. Their Pasta alla Norma which they call Gargenelli alla Siciliana at Degrezia is awesome. DeGrezia is a hidden Gem that not everyone knows about, but those “In-The-Know” have it down as one of the Best In The City, best Italian Restaurants that is. Check it out on Zagat, they got very high marks.
Hey, anyway I got off on the beaten track a minute as I often do. I start out talking about Bar Pitti and their awesome Eggplant Parm, then I’m on to these eggplant dishes of Sicily and wind up talking about Pasat alla Siciliana at DeGrezia. Well, one thing often leads to the other.
Let’s get back to Bar Pitti and their Melanzane Parmigiano and why Bar Pitti is New York’s BEst Italian Restaurant. Well, they prove it over and over again. The food is great, authentic, done right and consistently so. The ambiance is nice, they have nice wines, and pretty good service. And the prices, though not cheap, are fair. Well the Food at Bar Pitti is quite simply, Great. And it’s always great. I’ve eaten at Bar Pitti more than 200 times over the years and every dish I’ve ever had has been excellent or dam close to it. I’ve had the egplant parm there befor, and have always like it. I got it today when I ran into some friends (as I often do) sitting outside. They told me to sit down and have a glass of wine. I did. I was a bit hungry and ordered the Melanzane Parmigiano. Befor it came, my buddy Mike let me have one piece of hsi Coda di Vaccinara (Roman Braised Oxtails), which might very well be my single most favorite dish at the place (love the Trippa) as well. The Oxtails were a special that they serve about 2 – 3 times a week, and they are superb. My friends Michael and Jasmine had already ordered and when he told me he had ordered the Braised Oxtails, my interest was peaked. I thought about getting them but decided against it as I didn’t feel like having so much meat on these day. I’m a Meatatarian (I eat meat, but less, about 3 times a week). Well problem was solved when Michaels Oxtails came, he looked at his dish, and said I could have one piece. Awesome! I ordered the Eggplant Parm, had a piece of Oxtail with a bit of the Soft Polenta and a few pieces of sauteed zucchini which were unsurprisingly perfect. That’s Bar Pitti for you, usually perfect or near to it. Bar Pitti, New York’s Best Eggplant Parm, Coda d’ Vaccinara (Braised Oxtails), and quite simply New York’s number # 1 Italian Restaurant. Basta!