If someone declares for the “best of” anything in New York, we say—brave you are! Staking a claim for what’s the ultimate can be risky business in a city filled with millions of opinionated, non-shrinking violets, at the ready to launch a thousand heated counter tweets to question your taste, judgment, and sanity. Recently we heard one daring group announced for the best pasta in the city. But they were smart—rather than opine, they held a competition to determine who would do wonders with a dish most everyone would want as part of their last meal.
The face-off was called Il Primo Manhattan, held in collaboration with the Association of New York Chefs (AICNY) and it involved 70 culinary whizzes from the best Italian restaurants in the city. This year’s winner was Michelin-starred Executive Chef Massimo Sola of Mamo restaurant who entered his “quasi carbonara,” a delectable spin on the traditional spaghetti alla carbonara. (It would have to be “quasi” in this health-conscious day and age, since the original carbonara is a calorie- and cholesterol laden extravaganza filled with eggs, pancetta, and parmigiano.) Sola makes his “quasi” using an old Nice cooking technique that involves a frozen egg and cardamom seeds as ingredients. (Runners up for the best pasta prize included Black Barn’s Smoked Linguine from Chef Matteo Bergamini and the Spaghetti and Preserved Lemons devised by Chef Vincenzo Carofalo at Le Cirque.)
The “quasi carbonara” is a special order on the menu at Mamo New York, the transatlantic sister to Cannes film festival favorite Mamo Le Michelangelo. The original Mamo, based in Antibes, has been a staple for visiting movie stars and French Riviera socials for two decades and Mamo New York is no slouch in the celeb department either with Rhianna, Magic Johnson, Alexander Wang, Diane Kruger, Samuel L. Jackson, Gigi Hadid, Beyonce and Jay Z all stopping by to sample the Italian/Provencal cooking and such signature offerings as the Raviolini al Tartufo (truffle ravioli) and the Focaccia al Tartufo (truffle pizza). Mamo, 323 West Broadway ((between Grand & Canal St). Phone: (646) 964-4641