Date Night @ dell'anima
Dell’anima is the precursor to L’Artusi, created by the same team and restaurant group. We were fortunate enough to catch the tail end of dell’anima at it’s West Village location before they closed the doors citing a new era in fine dining. While the dishes we tried may not be served in the new Hell’s Kitchen Gotham Market location, we still want to document our thoughts on the food we did have, especially after closing not 3 months after we visited.
Also, at this point we hadn’t tried L’Artusi yet but we were hyped on the team’s reputation, and it doesn’t hurt to have a date night in the West Village.
The challenging part of going on date nights to an Italian restaurant is that the portions or actual dishes are hefty, which sometimes make it difficult for us to get a good feel for the food.
Something that dell’anima is quite known for is their Bruschette. They encourage you to choose several spreads, so we try the Roasted Red Pepper, Roasted Mushrooms, and Lily Confit. While it was attempting to be fun and interactive, there was something off putting about making the bruschette yourself. We found the bread to be a bit of a mismatch with the spreads, and overall didn’t find the experience all that pleasant.
What’s probably an homage to their sister restaurant L’Artusi, we tried the Orecchiette, a newer dish on their menu. The pasta itself was perfect in texture and cook, though the sauce was honestly nothing memorable.
We tried the Monkfish, actually a signature dish from when the restaurant opened back in 2008. We found the cook to be phenomenal, hands down the best cook on a monkfish we’ve experienced to date. Unfortunately it was also pretty salty, which made the dish hard to eat, but we found it to be inventive and out of the norm.
What’s interesting about our experience is that dell’anima feels like the quintessential, small wine bar eatery that kind of defined the late 2000s-early 2010s. In a lot of ways, while this wasn’t our favorite Italian spot food wise, it was certainly a memorable location and vibe. It’s upscale but comfortable, and you feel a bit at home in a restaurant like that. It’s tragic to see neighborhood restaurants like this close their doors, but we’re glad we at least got to experience the food and vibe at least once. We’ll definitely have to try the new installation in Gotham Market.