Following our quest for takoyaki on St. Mark’s Place, we walked across town and browsed around West Village for a bit. There is a cute (and expensive!) puppy shop called “Le Petit Puppy” right off of Christopher Street, and I got to hold both a shih tzu and a yorkie!! The little darlings were so adorable – especially the shih tzu, who fell asleep in my arms! Puppy shop = instant mood lifter.
After our takoyaki and unagi-don digested, we finally arrived at the restaurant for my romantic birthday dinner with the bf …
Unfortunately, Bianca does not take reservations (even for special occasions like birthdays!), so we were faced with an hour and a half wait for a party of 2, since it was Saturday night. The bf and I headed to the bar next door to stay warm while we waited for a table to open up – the restaurant smelled so delicious and I was very excited for dinner! The wait was actually not too bad because I got a chance to work up a nice appetite for dinner and we were out of the cold night air.
Dinner was definitely worth the wait. We started the meal with an appetizer of Gnocco Fritto, puffy fried dough pockets served with various cold cuts – my favorites were the prosciutto and something that tasted like very high-end baloney! This appetizer is a specialty of Bianca’s that is hard to find in other Italian restaurants in the city.
Of course, we also went for a fried calamari appetizer (since calamari happens to be one of the bf’s favorite foods). Since there was no fried calamari on the appetizer menu, we decided to share the Fritto Misto, a mixed seafood entree consisting of golden fried calamari, red mullet, and shrimp with eggplant, zucchini, and basil. Absolutely amazing – although considering the size, probably better if it had been split for a party of 5 instead of a party of 2, haha!
Even though we were already starting to feel full from the delicious appetizers and the glass of Riesling that we were sharing, the bf and I bravely forged on. The entrees were ridiculously tasty as well. I had the lasagna, 8 layers of pure pasta perfection. The pasta was cooked to just the right firmness, and layered with rich, meaty goodness and finished off with a lovely bechamel. The bf’s Gramigna was also incredible – saucy, al dente pasta with little bits of sausage dispersed throughout.
Gramigna con Salciccia e Peperoni
Last but certainly not least, we turned our attention and our forks to dessert: tiramisu! As the waiter brought out the candlelit dessert, my bf sang “happy birthday” to me … the perfect ending to the perfect birthday dinner! The tiramisu was covered with luscious mascarpone cream, and the espresso laced ladyfingers perfectly completed this light, yet decadent dessert. Ah, la dolce vita.
Bianca – 5 Bleecker St. (near Bowery)