Description: Italian, Financial District, Dinner.
Sportello is the restaurant on top of the hip speakeasy style bar, Drink and a Barbara Lynch Group restaurant. The theme is trendy, modern Italian which is reflected in the clean white interior with an open kitchen. The eating area is arranged into two large U-shaped bars and a few tables in the back. Another thing I noticed was the beautiful glassware that they used.
My dining companion and I had: ricotta cheese and fig preserve in olive oil (complimentary appetizer, served with bread), beef carpaccio (appetizer), pig jowl (appetizer), strozzapreti pasta with rabbit, duck, and the market fish which was sea bass. We also a glass of prosecco each as well as a glass of a rich red wine. Note: their measured pours here are not very uniform, if you care for volume, definitely order the red wines as the pour is probably 1.5 – 2.0x more than the pours for white due to the variance in the wine glass shape.
Ricotta cheese and fig: Phenomenal. The cheese was light and airy and lusciously creamy with pair excellently with the sweet fig compote and silky olive oil. The bread was also amazing as it was dense without being dry…a perfect delivery vehicle. We asked for seconds of this.
Beef carpaccio: Good quality beef served with onions, some shaved hard cheese, capers, radish, and two pieces of anchovy. Quality dish but nothing to write home about. Dish also included a small amount of beef tartare that was quite good. I would have preferred an entire dish of tartare.
Pig jowl: One of my favorite appetizers ever. Pig jowl is meat around a pig’s jaw–the meat itself is firm with a consistency almost like cartilage. I asked the waitress how it was prepared and she explained that the meat is sous-vide first and then flash fried so that the meat is tender (as the sous vide process breaks down the protein) but perfectly crispy on the outside. The smell of this dish is heavenly. I think my neighbor was staring jealously at this dish when he caught a whiff.
Strozzapreti: I am not a pasta lover. I find it difficult to find really quality pasta in both ingredients, preparation, and pairings. With the exception of a few pastas I’ve had in Italy as well as Marc Vetri’s pasta in Philadelphia, most pasta is easily forgotten by me. This pasta was one of the finest pastas I’ve tasted. The pasta was expertly prepared, chewy and firm. The sauce was creamy and mild but highly flavorful. The rabbit meat was a bit tough (as expected) but worked well in this dish. The cheese (pecorino? some hard cheese), olives and rosemary where perfect additions. They are happy to split pasta portions between two people so I had a small portion just to myself (they also split wine pours). I would not order this entire dish just for myself but split between two (or even three) people, this was a perfect primi.
Duck: Wonderful. One of the better duck dishes I’ve had due to the high quality meat selection, good ratio of lean meat to fat and the incredible flavor. The barley with cranberry was ok, but the duck by itself made it an excellent dish.
Bass: Flakey, white fish with brussel sprouts. The brussel sprouts were the star of the show here but the fish was not by any means bad. It was light, mild dish that the brussel sprouts elevated.
Overall, fantastic experience. Will go back to try more pastas and will reorder the pig jowl.