For the New York residents that are longing for a trip to Florence but are stuck stateside this week, I suggest paying Paolo Alavian a visit at Savore. I eat at there about once a week and I do so for a few reasons:
The first is that its everything from their door girls to their Tuscan-focused menu reminds me of my time living in Italy.
Secondly, its hard to beat the food there. In a neighborhood that is full of touristy, bland Italian restaurants (Mezzogiorno, Il Corrallo, Barolo, Bella Dona), the fare here is rock solid. The fresh, brick-oven baked focaccia that they offer along with their white bean puree and regular crusty bread is the perfect start if you are interested in making your own white bean bruschetta. I'm always excited to hear the specials - particularly the pastas, which are all homemade. The flavors to be tasted here are intense - the sweet and spicy sausages with butternut squash, lentils and broccoli rabe starter is one of the most robust, interesting and hearty dishes I've had since I moved back to the U.S. and don't get me started on their mouth-waterng tiramisu.
Third, Its a great place to come for a drink. Their wine menu is diverse, deep and reasonable and they are the only place I've found in NYC that serves Forst, my favorite Italian beer.
Finally, Savore's service is really second to none. The waiters and waitresses are incredibly friendly, helpful and accommodating. The same can be said for Paolo, the restaurant's owner, who seems to spend time getting to know every single patron of his restaurant. With this in mind, I'd like to allow my readers some time to get to know Paolo. For the next week, he'll be featured on this site as a reminder that personal style doesn't reside solely in Italy. Enjoy.