Last weekend, when the rain subsided and the sun finally came out from hiding, I decided to take a walk around my ‘hood. My plan was simply to venture down to the banks of the Hudson River to relax, snap a few pics and enjoy the peace, but my stomach had other plans. So I took off walking again and where did I end up? I know, I know…I gave it away in the title. Yes, Saggio Restaurant. It’s nestled within what I’d like to call the “Restaurant Row” portion of 181st Street in The Heights.
I’m no food critic, but if I had to give Saggio’s stars, forks or whatever rating system, I’d give them 4 out of 5. It’s the perfect neighborhood restaurant. You can go there with your girlfriends, significant other, family, or opt for the single diner experience like I did and feel welcomed all the same. And, during the summertime the back patio is open so you can host even larger family gatherings (see…told ya!)
Ever since watching the episode of Sex and the City where Samantha was stood up without her “single dining armor,” I always make sure I have something at my disposal. Enter, my iPhone to look like I’m busy Instagram-ing, Tweeting, texting…or any other social media verbs, iPad mini in an effort to finish the current book I’m reading (Diana Vreeland‘s autobiography D.V.) and some shades for a cool factor…
As much as I like to travel and see new things, I really am a creature of habit. I’ve been to Saggio several times and I think I’ve ordered the same entrée each time (it’s that good). And, this day was no different. To start things off, I ordered one of the $3 Happy Hour house wines. They even have happy hour on the weekend, nice right? From 4-6 pm it’s $3 beer and house wine; $4 well cocktails and 1/2 price martinis. That’s not a bad way to start your Saturday night or relax on a Sunday afternoon.
I opted for the house white (Pinot Grigio in this case) and paired it with the vine ripe tomatoes and basil crostini. The crostini was OK, it just didn’t have enough crunch for me. Side note: a bucket list item for me – learn how to write cool wine descriptions. I drink enough of it, now I need to learn how to write about it!
Okay back to the review. Next up, the main dish. The salmon with lemon, capers, sage and split green beans and EVOO. You have the option to have it pan seared or grilled, I went with the later to be a little more “healthy,”. And, bucked the chef’s recommendation to order it medium-rare. I ordered it medium so that it would have a bit of crisp on top. The portion was perfect for me, it’s not the overload you might see at The Cheesecake Factory and not the “nibble” you might see at one of the gourmet restaurants. The food came out relatively quickly so there wasn’t a long lull in between my appetizer and main dish, which means I had plenty of time to re-arrange and snap pics of my food. All in all, you can’t go wrong with this dish. It’s simply delicious…
And, yes I had dessert too! I mean I did walk like 20 blocks…lol I opted for the apple tart and gelato. The size is perfect, crust is flaky and the tart not overly sweet. I debated between this and the tiramisu, but this just felt a bit more summery BBQ to me.
And the most important part of the restaurant – THE BAR! It’s quaint, but fully stocked and staffed by an awesome bartender. Teddy was on shift when I went and he was very attentive and kept my wine glass full, so Teddy gets 5 stars from :-)!
But, seriously this is the type of the place where “everybody could know your name”. It’s charming with good food, good service and reasonable prices. As far as restaurants go in the neighborhood, it’s at the top. Give a try!