Massoni Offers An Interesting Twist On Italian Classics

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There are plenty of Italian cuisine options in New York. In fact, there’s a whole neighborhood dedicated to Southern European fare. All along Mulberry and Mott streets, restaurants are known for cooking by-the-book Italian staples. Massoni though, the self-proclaimed “Italian-ish” eatery in NoMad, breaks away from the traditional with an Italian-centered menu that offers just the right twist to the cuisine’s comfort food classics.

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To most New Yorkers, Italian food comes with a certain expectation of plans for the evening—a hearty family dinner, or maybe something filling before settling in for the night. Massoni offers a different iteration of Italian cooking with a setting that feels more akin to a lounge-like club, which happens to whip up great pasta and pizza as well. Certain walls are covered with cards, stamps, and paper artifacts of lives well traveled. Another wall, covered in exposed brick, features a giant street-art-style painting of a praying saint. It’s exactly the kind of look that Meatpacking District restaurants have become known for. Massoni, on the other hand, offers the same level of quality and fun, without having to clog the restaurant with all-night club-goers or tourists trying to pay in Euros.

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Massoni is the flagship of the Arlo Hotel’s three food and drink destinations, all run by Chef Dale Talde of Top Chef stardom. The other two outposts are The Heights—a rooftop bar with panoramic views of the city and open in the summer months, and Bodega—a late night eatery and snack shop inside the lobby of the hotel.

Massoni’s recurring theme is the usage of New York City neighborhood names for menu items. The cocktail menus at Massoni and The Heights also feature drinks named after neighborhoods in the city. The “Forrest Hills” is a green gin-based cocktail served up, and the “Fordham Road” features rye whiskey and fresh grapefruit.

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Each dish offers a down-to-earth approach to Italian cooking. The pumpkin ravioli uses (you’ve used “features” a lot) a crushed vanilla cookie crumble to add a sweet flavor to the savory, creamy sauce. Biriyani rice balls come sitting in a thick paste of spicy tomato sauce that offers a burst of flavor with each bite and a plume of steam as forks plunge down into each ball. While the dishes at Massoni taste great and are well executed, the main draw to the restaurant is the vibe-heavy interior. For all those who enjoy the nightlife scene on the weekends, this NoMad eatery may be the perfect place to keep things moving into the workweek.

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