Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hundred Dollar Gnocchi

Toasted Ricotta Gnocchi -- Jane

"They put us at the date table," Vodka texts Ginger upon being seated at Jane.  "Try not to put the moves on me."

When Ginger shuffles through the door 10 minutes later, she finds Vodka at the corner table, empty seat next to her on the booth.  Date night, indeed.

As Ginger flops down, Vodka, who wilts like expired basil in the Manhattan summer, prattles on about already downing our entire liter of ice water and "God forbid they bring me another one."

We are off to a fortuitous start.

For the past few years, we have avoided Jane due to their refusal, during our last visit, to serve us alcohol on a Sunday before noon (which we understand is the stupid Prohibition-era law, but certainly not one that should be abided by).  However, we are back and willing to give them another shot in the name of consuming Danny Boome's pick from the ORIGINAL Best Thing I Ever Ate special, the toasted ricotta gnocchi.
We'll Take 18 Bowls, Please
First things first, we order our cocktails, and Ginger has to settle for half of her moniker (gin) as there is no ginger-based item on the menu.  Her pomegranate-gin concoction causes Vodka to sporadically call out "It's Gin O'Clock" (a phrase she picked up from the fake Queen of England Twitter account -- @Queen_UK -- you'll thank me later) at random intervals.  Vodka's Passion cocktail is much more agreeable (read: sweet), and more importantly, contains vodka.  Ginger attempts to raise her glass to send "Cheers" to our afternoon, but her sentiment is shot down by Vodka, who instead swats Ginger's hand out of the way of the picture she is trying to take.
The Result of This Bullying
As our drinks arrive, we decide that we need to figure out the schedule and logistics of our upcoming weeks of eating while still sober.  Unfortunately, this plan goes down the drain when we can't manage to keep our fists off our glasses for more than one minute at a time, so lord knows where our drunkenly-planned itinerary will take us in the weeks ahead.

Apparently continuing the theme of date night, Ginger soon finds herself both scooping olive oil off of Vodka's bread plate and ordering Vodka's lunch like a domineering husband: two happenstances, along with our cozy table, that as usual, no one finds as hilarious as we do.

When our toasted ricotta gnocchi arrive, we stare at the bowls in awe for a few moments.  A pile of extra-large, thick, incredibly rich and  artery-clogging gnocchi stand before us, dripping in white truffle cream and a healthy dose of Parmesan cheese.
Jumbo Gnocchi
The cream-based sauce is so rich that yellow butter rivers can still be seen floating through it, and the gnocchi itself has been browned just enough to add a mild crunch and prevent the dreaded gnocchi mushiness.
Everything's Better with Butter
The gnocchi is downright out of this world.

With an almost cake-like texture, the pasta is much more pleasant than we ever expected, having been accustomed to potato gnocchi and unsure of how this ricotta concoction would work.  The sauce, which at first looks heavy-handed, is soon scooped up on each gnocchi piece until it takes every ounce of willpower for us not to lick the bowl clean.  The dish is beyond filling, a guilty pleasure if there ever was one.  But it is incredibly worth it.
And PS We Pretty Much Licked the Bowls Clean
When our bill arrives, we, as per usual, experience issues trying to figure it out (and our cocktails have certainly not helped matters).  Ginger goes on a rant about how lunchtime beverages should not cost $12 (a logical argument coming from a strict day drinker), and indeed, our $87 bill for lunch, before tip, seems steep.

But would we pay it again in order to experience this Best Thing I Ever Ate masterpiece (which, be forewarned, is only available for lunch)?
A Reminder of the Greatness
Anything for the love of gnocchi, my dear.  Anything for the love of gnocchi.

Jane's Toasted Ricotta Gnocchi -- 5 stars*

*Certifiable Best Thing We Ever Ate

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