New York City, NY

Ramerino Italian Prime: Prime Italian Cuisine Right Around the Corner From Bryant Park

Carlos L.

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Courtesy of Ramerino Italian Prime

Ramerino Italian Prime, located steps away from the New York Public Library and Bryant Park, is owned by Sammy V. Gashi, an industry veteran with a career spanning 25 years. Gashi currently owns and operates San Marino SoHo and Antica Ristorante on Stone Street as well. Ramerino Italian Prime is his take on rural Tuscan cooking and is named for a staple of the region’s cuisine, rosemary.

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Courtesy of Ramerino Italian Prime

The menu celebrates the culinary offerings from the region of Tuscany prepared simply, using olive oil rather than butter, clean natural ingredients, prime meats and fish, vegetables, and house-made pastas. To bring the concept to life, Gashi has enlisted Tuscan Native, Executive Chef Vilfredo Hodai, who gained his culinary chops working his way through restaurants in Florence, Italy including La Giostra, before arriving in New York.

The restaurant was designed in collaboration with the owner and Paul Vega, founder of VLDG Design, to emphasize the large dining room with smart and elegant accents of millennial blue and Venetian plaster, wine displays, and large mosaicked columns. The tranquil outdoor patio is lined with greenery to provide an oasis in Midtown Manhattan.

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Courtesy of Ramerino Italian Prime

Ramerino has a real traditional look to it; you’ll know you’re in a fancy eating establishment the second you step in. I honestly really loved the ambiance and the waiters were really nice and walked my guest and I over to our seats. After a few minutes, they came and took our drink orders; I had an Old Fashioned (no surprise there) and my guest had a Lemon Drop. Both drinks were full of flavor and freshness as a drink should be.

For our first course (which we ordered while we decided what else we were going to eat) we had the Ramerino Salad (mixed greens, walnuts, pear and goat cheese with a lemon dressing). This salad was extremely pleasant and just bursting with flavor. The ingredients were almost like a nice farewell to summer while simultaneously saying hello to autumn. All the flavors blended together perfectly and the salad was eaten rather quickly; we were definitely ready for more.

Up next, was the calamari dish (grilled calamari, arugula pesto and tomatoes). I’m so used to having calamari fried, I didn’t realize how good they would be grilled. If you’ve never had grilled calamari before (I know there might be a surprising number of us out there) you need to try it and better yet, you need to come to Ramerino and ensure it’s prepared with quality. The grill gave it almost a slightly charred octopus taste and the arugula pesto and tomatoes really helped balance the flavor.

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Courtesy of Ramerino Italian Prime

For our main course, we had a beautiful Bolognese (fettuccine pasta, traditional veal ragu, 24-month aged Parmigiano-Reggiano) Risotto (carnaroli rice, asparagus, zucchini, zafferano) and an amazing Fileto Al Barolo (medium rare filet mignon with a red wine reduction). I’m just going to go ahead and let you guys know, this meal is defiantly among the top 5 I’ve had all summer. The Bolognese was extremely tasty and the pieces of veal were big enough for you to get a good taste but not so big that it overpowered the dish. The Risotto was definitely interesting as well. I think the zafferano (saffron) gave it a flavor I wasn’t used to but when it was combined with that sweet sweet Filet, something amazing happened. Speaking of filet, ours was cooked to perfection and had a slightly sweet/earthy taste to it; almost like jasmine or another fresh herb was added to it. The red wine reduction gave it a richness that I haven’t experienced with filet mignon before.

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Courtesy of Ramerino Italian Prime

For Dessert, we enjoyed the Il Nostro Tiramisu (espresso-soaked lady fingers, cocoa, mascarpone). I think the best thing I can compare it to is a vanilla and cocoa macaron in tiramisu form; simply delicious. Ramerino was also nice enough to give us a complimentary limoncello, which was the icing on the cake.

My time at Ramerino was definitely a pleasant one. Sammy and the entire staff were a joy and most importantly, the food was absolutely delicious. I recommend Ramerino to anyone in the mood for top-shelf Italian cuisine. You won't be disappointed and if you're anything like me you'll be planning your next visit before the end of your meal. ramerinoprime.com

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Carlos is a New York City-based journalist with 10+ years of experience covering a wide array of topics such as music, art, fashion, entertainment and health and wellness. Carlos has also had cover stories in publications in the US and UK.

New York, NY
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