L’Artusi is that downtown Italian staple that everyone knows about, everyone loves and that even my friends back home in Texas know and rave about. It’s been going strong for years and still packed each night so you have to plan ahead if you want a reservation unless you walk in and sit at the bar (which I recommend for two). They also have an amazing table in the wine cellar room upstairs with 2500 bottles if you are looking for a place for larger groups- it’s fun yet intimate. The homemade pastas steal the show here, and you really can’t go wrong with any decision on that section of the menu. We dipped into the Ricotta starter with housemade Rhubarb Compote and Buttermilk Crackers which is a salty yet sweet appetizer to get you amped up for whats to come. Skip the hamachi tartare and go for a couple pastas as they tickle your tastebuds and leave a memorable feeling with each bite. I love the Tagliatelle with Bolognese Bianco and Parmesan. Each strand of pasta is danty, soft and al dente that you can physically tell that each was handled with such care. I’ve never had a white bolognese and doubted that it could one up a nice red sauce, but you know what, it blew me away and the thick, tender noodles and sauce are perfect. The Lamb Ragu Fettucini special was impossible not to order. Anything with ragu and lamb always pleases. It’s just as good as the Tagliatelle. It’s also a plus that they offer so many special additions to the already fantastic menu.
The Brussels Sprouts with Black Pepper and Pecorino were a little too heavy on the cheese for me that it took away from the vegetables natural flavor, but my dining partner seemed to be obsessed. The service at L’Artusi is unparalleled. They truly make each guest and table feel like Beyonce and bow down. Just kidding, but seriously, each time the staff showers you with kindness and really adds to the enjoyment of your experience with them. I recommend sitting up at the bar. Especially if you are walking in, snag a seat here. It’s interactive, you can see the chefs plating the desserts, and it’s a more casual dining environment.
Lamb Ragu Fettucini
You can’t miss the Hazelnut Chocolate Torta with praline crunch and salted caramel gelato. Heck, I should have just ordered my own scoop of salted caramel. It might even be better than my favorite Talenti Sea Salt Caramel (and if you haven’t had this yet, then that’s just another conversation we can discuss later). The soft chocolate combined with the praline underneath has a similar texture to rice krispies and combined with the cold salted gelato makes you close your eyes and want to remember those flavors together forever. That’s how I feel at L’Artusi each time. I want to remember each bite and each moment of happiness garnered here and take it with me. L’Artusi is a truly special place, and you need to make a point to come here a first time and also remember to revisit often.