Perfectly situated just two blocks from my job, Asellina is a restaurant which stole my heart before I even entered. I had been eying the place since they opened, passing it every day on my way to the train. Finally I went in, and it was everything I wanted from it, and more.
Greeted with the cozy flames of a fireplace, the interior enhances this warmth with their choice of lighting and color scheme. The space is large, boasting two bars and an outdoor area in the rear. A unique piece of art, made of bottle caps, hangs on the wall in the seating area behind the first bar.
While I expected high end Italian cuisine, I was not expecting the distinctive flavors and creations Asellina has to offer. As described by our waiter, head chef Marco Proceddu is from Sardinia, adding his own rare twist on the seafood end of the menu. Some unique creations include a pizza with octopus on it, and a seafood special served in a sea urchin shell (trying this was a no brainer).
I’ve always loved fresh buffalo mozzarella, but had never before heard of Burrata, so that’s what I went with from the appetizer list. Burrata is like mozarella on the outside, with a mozzarella cream mixture on the inside. Very good, with a bit of a different texture; something simple, fresh, and new to love. Damany went for the wood-fired meatballs which are made from a combination of ground veal, beef and pork meats smothered in a roasted tomato sauce, and served in a sizzling cast iron pan.
The seafood special was a wonderful combination of spaghetti, shrimp, calamari, and sea urchin served in the urchin shell. I could see why the waiter described the dish as “not for the seafood timid”, as it really did taste like the sea. However, I will say that the quality of the seafood makes all the difference in the experience of a dish; and the quality here was tops, making this the best sea flavored dish I’ve ever tasted in my life.
Damany went with the Viking sized lamb shank; and as you can see in the photo, the perfectly cooked meat seemed to just fall off of the bone. I didn’t taste it, only becuase I was already so stuffed and pushing to finish my own food, but it is clear from his face that this shank was painfully good.
It’s also clear to me that this will be one place that’s hard not to stop in almost daily. It was that good.
420 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10016