Growing up as an Italian-American in Brooklyn, New York, Sunday dinners were a staple in our home. On any given Sunday, you could walk into an apartment filled with the familiar aroma of hot, bubbling sauce (or gravy, as we called it; an ongoing debate between Italian-Americans descended from various regions of Italy), the sound of crunchy, warm bread, and more importantly, a feeling of love and warmth that could literally burst through the doors. You see, Italians are all about two things: food, and love. So when Lady Charlotte invited me to experience a meal at Sirio Ristorante, an upscale Tuscan restaurant located in the infamous Pierre Hotel in New York City, I couldn’t resist. And the fact that our reservation was on a Sunday evening was the creme on my cannoli.
Since Lady Charlotte and I only get to see each other a few times a year due to that pesky little ocean between us, we knew we had to begin our night a bit early to catch up with one another. Naturally, we chose The Plaza Hotel as the backdrop for our pre-dinner champagne ritual. Although there were hoards of tourists begging the doormen outside The Plaza to get a glimpse of this breathtaking space, Charlotte and I breezed right in and secured ourselves a spot right at the Champagne Bar. Are you shocked?
After splitting a bottle of Veuve Clicquot and connecting over the usual chatter: work, relationships, and of course, recounting Charlotte’s New York City shopping excursion, we decided we were ready for our meal and made our way across the street to Sirio. It must have been 20 degrees that night; even the bubbly running through our veins couldn’t keep us warm. As you can imagine, walking through the doors into a cozy, dim, warm space was sheer perfection. The decor at Sirio was the first thing thing to catch my eye. With a 1920’s vibe and a bar lined with a small lamp at every seat, this restaurant feels exclusive and polished. While there is a definite masculine edge to the design, it still feels lush and glamorous. Right up my alley as I simply cannot dine in a restaurant that feels like anything less. Call me a diva, but its just how this Champagne Girl rolls.
Once Charlotte and I were seated, a server appeared almost as instantaneously as a genie in a bottle, ready to bring us an aperitif. We went with two more glasses of Veuve, because, why not? As soon as our drinks were delivered, another server appeared ready to welcome us and fill us in on the night’s specials. Tiziano was warm, friendly, and attentive. And as quickly as he attended to us, he was followed by Analisa, another server ready to wait on us and make us feel like we were right at home. Talk about service. We felt like two queens the whole evening, with what felt like the entire staff making our dining experience feel nothing short of amazing.
Alright, onto the food. Because I truly could go on for days about the stellar service. For our starters, I went with the Insalata del Contadino, or more casually, the roasted local vegetables. I figured I should try to combat all that champagne drinking with some hardcore vitamins, so veggies it was. And they were delicious. Charlotte decided to be a little edgier than I, and enjoyed the Crudo di Cervo (venison carpaccio). When I asked her how it tasted, she responded with a dramatic eye roll and an orgasmic sigh. I took that as a positive.
Next up was our pasta course. I chose the butternut squash ravioli with brown butter and amaretti, and Charlotte chose the risotto with green pea, cuttlefish, and saffron sauce. You could have truly sent us off on our merry way right after our pasta dishes because they were that good. Tiziano paired our pastas with a delicious white wine. The name is escaping me, most likely because I had ascended to some sort of food and drink heaven by this point, but believe me when I implore you to take your server’s pairing recommendation when you go here. You will not be sorry.
For our “secondi,” or main course, I had the chicken, and Charlotte had the steak. But this wasn’t any old chicken. Another warm reminder of my family roots, this was a Bell and Evans chicken breast. The only chicken I have ever been allowed to buy or eat, as commanded by both my mother and grandmother my entire life. “It’s the best chicken, okay?” was the only real reasoning I ever got when I asked WHY Bell and Evans, and frankly, that’s good enough of a reason for me. Moms and grandma’s know best, right? Well apparently, so does Sirio.
Charlotte’s steak was cooked to perfection and she enjoyed every last bite. Neither of us were a huge fan of the grilled radicchio it was paired with on the side, unfortunately, so avoid that side if you can. The onions and baby potatoes made up for it, however. And all in all, we were both extremely pleased with all of our courses. And the wine. THE WINE! How can I forget? We polished off a bottle of Antinori Tignanello, a delicious red blend from Tuscany, which was once again a recommendation from our server, Tiziano.
You’d think by this point we’d need to be hauled out of there like two stuffed pigs, but there was dessert to be had, and we were having it. As neither of us were in a sweet mood after that savory feast, we decided to enjoy a cheese platter as a way to cap off a truly phenomenal dining experience. But in true Italian fashion, “more is more,” and we were presented with not one, but two cheese plates as our dessert. One each, of course.
Followed by two espresso martinis and these two wild things called it a night.
I told you Italians are all about food and love. And Sirio proved me right.
Taj Pierre Hotel
795 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10065