1295 Madison Ave (92nd St)
City: New York, NY
Phone: (212) 794-1890
Hours: Brunch: Saturday and Sunday, 11:30am-4pm Lunch: Monday – Friday, 12pm-4pm Dinner: Sunday and Monday, 5pm-10pm Tuesday-Saturday, 5pm-11pm
Site: Visit the restaurant site
Chef: Paola Bottero
Area: East 90s & Up
Payment: Amex Visa Mastercard
For a long time, this corner on Madison Avenue seemed to be cursed. Restaurants came and stayed a year or two, then closed, unable to pay the rent on the amazing, sprawling space in Carnegie Hill. Paola's seems like the first in a long line of places that might actually have staying power, not due to the service, which can sometimes be slow or neglectful, but thanks to the absolutely incredible interpretations of Italian classics on the menu.
The star of the menu is undoubtedly the Bolognese sauce (20), a traditional ragú made with beef and pork. It's served with fettuccine, but ask for rigatoni instead as a vehicle for the chunky, savory sauce. If you like duck, the pappardelle with duck ragú (20) is also excellent and a unique addition to the menu. The lamb agnolotti with veal reduction and black truffles (22) is not for the faint of palate, but if you like truffles, you'll fall in love.
It can be hard to veer away from the pasta dishes to glance at the secondi, but the grilled shrimp with grilled corn salad and arugula (28) makes an excellent, lighter main, especially once the warmer weather hits, and the roasted Cornish game hen (24) is cooked to perfection.
The prices are high, but the quality is reflected in the food. Still, people would be more willing to pay high class prices for high class service, and often that of Paola's just doesn't cut it.
Review By: Emily Monaco