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Just a short walking distance from my office, lays a place with no name out front. The only signage is on the sidewalk listing the evening specials.  If you peek inside, you’ll see an inviting and warm atmosphere just waiting for you to partake of it.

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Ristorante Aglio. The Italian restaurant that offers a lovely variety of creatively presented dishes and brilliantly mixed cocktails. The name suggests everything is garlic, however, from their website, the garlic notes are not overpowering in their dishes.

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After work last night, my mother met me in front of Ristorante Aglio at the start of dinner service. They had literally just lit the last candle on the table as we entered the establishment. Immediately I fell in love with the dark furniture and creamy tan walls. It was dimly lit and felt very inviting.

I immediately thought this was incredibly romantic and with Valentine’s Day looming around the corner, it makes the perfect setting for your hot date.

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We were given some Rosemary Pizza Bianca to nibble on with a very rich olive oil that had a very faint bit of heat to it, almost unnoticeable.

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Having glanced at the menu before hand, I had an idea of what I was going to order… however, because I am terrible at making decisions with so many choices, I began to question my original choices. My mom needed little coaching as she picked out her choices and when our waiter approached we were ready to order.

Since it was a ladies’ night out, Mother-Daughter style, we ordered a cocktail. We both chose the Sylvia which is  a tall refreshing cocktail of Belvedere, Ginger Skyy, Saint Germain, Mint, Cucumber slices, muddled ginger, ginger ale and agave. It was delicious and very refreshing.

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For our starters, Mom got the Foie Gras and Sweet potato. Reading the menu “Foie Gras with sautéed sweet potato, drizzled with Marsala wine sauce” she said it sounded fantastic. And I squealed inside because my mother once turned her nose up at Foie Gras some years ago and I was elated thinking she had a change of heart. Upon the presenting of the dish, her eyes filled with horror as she whispered across the table “Is this LIVER?”

When I confirmed, her disappointment was apparent and I offered her my own dish as I love Foie Gras. But, being the good sport that she is, she tried the Foie Gras. Turns out, it wasn’t as horrific as mom thought it would be. Of course, I had a few bites of hers and enjoyed it; I was just happy she was open to trying something new.

“I didn’t raise you on this food… where did your palate come from?”  

My Uncle, perhaps?

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I ordered the Kanpachi Carpaccio which is a thinly sliced raw fish served with sliced endive, dill, black olives, Sardinian olive oil, and lemon vinaigrette. The dish was beautifully presented and the flavors were spot on. It made a great dish to whet my appetite for the next course. It was full of flavor but light and refreshing.

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For our entrée, mom was ecstatic when she saw the lamb chops. They are one of her favorites. Growing up, mom used to make lamb chops about once per week… and I just about got sick of them. I had a bite and let her eat the rest. The lamb was rich and succulent, cooked medium upon the Chef’s recommendation.

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She ordered a side of creamy and fluffy mashed potatoes to complete her dish.

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I seized the opportunity of having lobster. Grilled lobster with fennel! I haven’t had lobster in such a long time due to the heavy saturation of butter that some chefs use to prepare it. For me, the combination does not agree with me and I get very ill. However, seeing that the lobster offered at Aglio was simply grilled and nothing more, I happily ordered it. In its simplest preparation, the lobster was sweet and cooked perfectly.  It came cut up for me to make my time shucking easier and I couldn’t have been more grateful.

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(i forgot my camera and took a crappy cell phone pic… but wanted to show, despite its blurriness)

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To accompany my lobster, I ordered the garlic spinach.  Fresh and whole spinach leaves lightly sautéed with garlic and oil. A fantastic side!

Over my excitement over dessert, I neglected to take a photo! However, I can report that my flourless chocolate cake was dense and chocolately! It was a great end to such a wonderful meal. My mother, feeling quite full from her dinner ordered a scoop of their hazelnut Gelato which she happily consumed.

The service here is spot on! While leaving the restaurant my mother, who takes pride in respect and courteousy, was impressed by the “impeccable service” and I take after my momma, so i would have to agree! Fantastic service.  (And the restroom was reminiscent of a day spa with heated seats and a bidet!)

Overall, my experience at Ristorante Aglio was a wonderful one! With it being so close to the office, it makes a great venue to celebrate events over lunch with colleagues and even as a romantic backdrop for a fancy date in TriBeCa.

If you and your love are looking for a special night this Valentine’s Day, Ristorante Aglio will be offering a 5 course dinner for $68 per person. Check out their website and make a reservation!

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