This restaurant review is part of Slide Night’s NYC Uncovered series.
In a city with over 24,000 restaurants serving almost every cuisine known to mankind, novelty and originality are hard to come by. In spite of the growing restaurant industry, New York City’s newest addition, Rezdôra, makes a lasting impression.
When my boyfriend and I were trying to pick our Saturday night date night location, there was no question that we would venture to Manhattan’s quaint flatiron district especially because we are dedicated Master of None fans. Opened by Chef Stefano Secchi who trained in the famous three-Michelin star restaurant Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy, Rezdôra specializes in seasonal pastas accompanied by tasteful wine pairings.
Despite the unwelcoming weather, we walked into a packed restaurant on day three of its opening and were hospitably welcomed to a rustic, cozy atmosphere that felt just like Grandma’s home- a tribute to the term “Rezdôra” which means grandmother in Modenese. Our server walked us over to a corner table with beautiful overhead lighting that made us feel immediately comfortable.
We each started off with a glass of delicious Italian red wine to prepare us for our hearty meal. The first antipasti course was a no-brainer. We opted to share the burrata, which tasted as smooth and velvety as it looked and ordered a side of fett’unta (a fancy phrase for lightly toasted bread with olive oil). Overall, the burrata topped with toasted hazelnuts, was a pleasant surprise, although neither of us were impressed by having to pay for overly-salty bread that is usually complimentary at other establishments. We were also offered a complimentary starter; small crostini bites topped with ricotta cheese and jam- a perfect marriage of sweet and savory to prepare our palettes.
Since calories obviously don’t count on weekends, the next pasta course was my most-anticipated part of the meal. As a vegetarian, finding dishes that fit my dietary restrictions is not too difficult, and Rezdôra certainly did not disappoint. I opted for the uovo raviolo di nino bergese, fluffy pasta with a ricotta and egg stuffing, garnished with asparagus and black truffles. Though the dish could have done with fewer truffles, the pasta tasted like it was meticulously and carefully made. My boyfriend, an enthusiastic omnivore, ordered the spaghettoni con vongole, delicately topped with parsley and garlic and served under a bed of clams. He was certainly impressed by the flavor combination and enjoyed the thick spaghetti that seemed to melt in his mouth. The chef also provided us with a complimentary sampling of the maccheroni al pettine, a duck dish that I did not have the opportunity to try.
As we dined, I overheard many of the patrons expressing their delight over the food. In fact, one group sitting near us who were celebrating an early Mother’s Day meal remarked that the “prosciutto was some of the best they ever had.” Although the food received much-deserved praise, we did overhear disappointment over the service and the increasing wait time before getting their food or drinks. The wait time however, did not stop me from ordering a dessert, particularly the lemon ricotta cheesecake that I was eyeing all night. When it appeared, it was perfectly paired with a light and airy lemon sorbet and a side of candied pistachio sable.
It is important to recognize the grit and dedication it takes to open a new business, especially in the mean streets of Manhattan. Overall, Rezdôra did a fantastic job of inviting foodies to experience a glimpse of the Emilia Romagna region that is undoubtedly an integral part of Italy’s gastronomy. Just in case your trip to Northern Italy is currently on hold, visit Chef Secchi’s microcosm of home and prepare your taste buds for a delightful experience.
Written by Pooja Shah; Photos by Pooja Shah.
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Rezdôra is open 7 days a week; 27 E 20th Street, New York, NY 10003.