We left the warmth of our Naples home a couple of week ago to visit friends in New York and catch up on some culture.
It was a week of winter hell. We were staying on the east side and compromised with our friend to go to a restaurant on the west side of town. It was an excursion much like the Ititarod in Alaska. But a visit to Celeste on Amsterdam between 84th and 85th was worth the journey.
You might look at the front of the restaurant and think why would I want to eat in this dark depressing looking restaurant. Why? because of the incredible food and the total warmth of the atmosphere and above all the owner, Carmine Mitroni. This is his home and you are a treasured guest.
The waitstaff are also a major factor in the experience. You feel that you are dining in a small town in Italy because the staff is predominately Italian and utterly gracious.
We began the meal with a delicately fried calamari.
My wife, Margaret and I have always considered this is the best fettucini and clams in the city.
The special lasagna. I have eaten lasagna probably in every Italian restaurant in New York. This was unlike any other. I asked owner Carmine what made it different. He said in his town in Italy the middle layer is béchamel and parmesan. It gave it a special delicacy.
My friend Joel, a rigatoni bolognese afficianado, has praised the one at Celeste.
A quick look at deserts and no thanks. I couldn’t eat another bite as said in my favorite Monty Phython skit of the man exploding.
Back out of the restaurant and blown across Amsterdam Avenue by the gail force wind.