Location: 519 Columbus Avenue, New York, NY
Cuisine: Northern Italian
Best Dish: The lamb chops were outstanding and the spaghetti is divine but our favorite dish of the evening was the oven roasted salmon. It is not easy to achieve crisp skin and maintain tender flesh with salmon and yet that is exactly how it was presented and enjoyed.
Overall: The posh decor is reason enough to visit but you will fall in love with the food. If you love Italian cuisines, this restaurant is a must. The venue is also an ideal space for an impressive first date or special occasion. The setting and cuisine are enhanced by a resplendent entertainment experience that features musicians and students from nearby Juilliard and Lincoln Center performing live music nightly and during brunch, and occasional opera.
Renaissance-inspired murals decorate the walls of Trattoria Machiavelli. The floor is covered in monochrome tiles and the furnishings are made up of plush ornate chairs and metal works. The decor is reminiscent of a banquet hall in an opulent castle. The venue also features seasonal outdoor seating and a beautiful marble bar. We nestled into our corner seats and enjoyed a round of pre-dinner cocktails. The cocktail of choice was the Brunelleschi, a strong mixture of Makers Mark Bourbon, pomegranate, ginger, and lemon. The sweet-tart flavor of lemon and pomegranate worked well together and ease the burn of the bourbon while the ginger added a nice burst of heat.
We enjoyed our beverage while looking over the extensive menu of traditional Italian Fare after some deliberation, we decided to start with the Broccoli di rapa con salsiccia or Broccoli raab with sweet Italian sausage. The leafy green vegetable is sauteed well with just a hint of garlic. The house made sausage is moist and delicious its savory sweetness was a counterbalance to the bitter broccoli raab.
We followed the veggie starter with a luscious salmon steak oven roasted and crusted with fresh herbs and garlic. The salmon was well seasoned and delicious. It was served with a fresh vegetable medley and creamy mashed potatoes.
Our next dish was the popular Spaghetti alla Chitarra ai Frutti di Mare or Spaghetti with seafood. This dish featured a rich robust tomato sauce, fresh pasta and an assortment of oceanic treats including shrimp, scallops, calamari, mussels, and clams. One of the highlights of this dish was using warm fresh bread as a vehicle to soak up the remaining sauce after we devoured the pasta.
For the final entree, we chose the Costoletta d’Agnello alle Erbe fresche or lamb chops with fresh herbs. We ordered our lamb medium well. The tasty chops were served with fingerling potatoes and carrots. Each tender bite of lamb was tantalizing and the vegetables served as a delicious means for enjoying the herbaceous au jus.
Our feast ended with the Bongo Bongo, a sweet treat of gelato in a puff pastry shell. The gelato was delicious and not too sweet. We chose the dark chocolate and salted caramel flavors and both were absolutely delicious.
At first glance, Machiavelli seems intimidating. The plush furnishings, lavish decor and Italian menu may seem daunting to some but venture beyond its exterior have a seat and relax. The staff is warm and friendly and ready to offer their assistance. Despite the surroundings, the atmosphere is light and casual. Guests are expected to enjoy a fabulous meal as they would at home, comfortably and leisurely.
Machiavelli is located at 519 Columbus Avenue, between 85th and 86th . MachiavelliNYC.com. 212-724- 2658. Hours of Operation: Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Friday 11 a.m.-midnight, Saturday 9 a.m.-midnight, and Sunday 9 a.m.-11 p.m. Brunch Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Italian Aperitivo Hour Monday-Friday 4 p.m.-6 p.m. Live music during brunch and Sunday-Thursday 7:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday 8 p.m.-midnight.