I rarely go out for Italian food. Not because I don’t like it — it’s just that many Italian restaurants feel homogenized to me, like they’re all doing similar versions of “101 ways to serve tomato sauce.” So with that said, let’s give thanks for the arrival of Mima Vinoteca, a wine bar and bistro in Irvington that’s serving inspired and soulful Italian cuisine.
I’m all about “cozy”, so my first impression of Mima was, “Ahhhh, this is my kind of restaurant!” The exposed brick, muted lighting and intimate atmosphere make the 75-seat space warm and inviting — a definite home run of a date place (keep it in mind fellas). The rustic feeling translates down to the menu: a phenomenal Italian wine list, imported cheeses, handmade pastas and stick-to-your-ribs meat dishes.
For an appetizer a few of us shared the clams and mussels in a garlic tomato broth.
The clams were deliciously sweet and the broth practically screamed out, “Dunk me with bread!” But there was a problem: the mussels were gritty (definite no-no) and had a slightly fishy odor (even bigger no-no), so I stuck mostly with the clams.
Here’s my entree, braised short ribs with pearl onions, baby carrots and spinach gnocchi.
It’s the middle of June, but I could easily imagine eating this dish on a cold night in the dead of winter. Talk about comfort food. The meat melted off the bone and the homemade gnocchi were so soft and light; I only wish there were more of them.
But this is what brought me to utter ecstasy.
Don’t you wish you could reach through your computer screen and grab one?? They’re bombolini — sort of like a zeppole (Basically a fried dough ball. Speaking of round objects, remember the legendary SNL skit where Alec Baldwin plays a character named Pete Schwetty? Well, the bombolini led to five minutes of jokes…). The outside was warm and golden brown; the inside was soft and slightly sweet from the ricotta fresca mixed in with the dough. A little powdered sugar on top, some caramel dipping sauce, and it made one hell of a dessert. I’m about ready to go out and buy a deep fryer so I can whip up a batch of these bad boys.
One moment pretty much summed up the evening. Anthony, who was sitting next to me, ordered the asparagus risotto with salsa verde. He took a bite, paused for a moment and said softly, “This is really good.” I looked over five minutes later and his entire plate was wiped clean, down to the last grain of rice.
“I’m surprised you’re not licking the plate,” I joked.
“If I were at home I probably would,” he said.
63 Main St.