Restaurant Spotlight: Lilia
I'll start this out by saying Lilia is in my top three restaurants I've ever been to in my entire life. Do you know how big of a foodie I am? This is huge! From start to finish my experience at this restaurant has left me totally inspired.
Before my trip to New York City for a week I went over the list of restaurants and "spots to stop by" that I had started months ago. I planned my days around each of the different neighborhoods I wanted to visit. My point being, food was a major focus for this trip. You know, research... A couple weeks before leaving I got a text from my good friend in the city. "Are you in town April 24?" That happened to be the day I was going to fly in. She then let me know that her colleague had made multiple reservations weeks and weeks ago at a fab new Italian place in Brooklyn that is *impossible* to get into. He made multiple reservations when they came out because it was so far in advance that he didn't know when he'd be able to get there for his anniversary dinner. He wanted to have a back-up. However, he ended up having this left-over reservation that night that he didn't want to go to waste.
Little did I know, this modern, breath of fresh air of a restaurant was out-of-this-world! Lilia was an old auto body shop that has been transformed into a chic, quaint, yet open space. When you walk in you can see the homemade pasta being made and are most likely escorted to sit for a drink before making it to your table. When we sat, we both got insanely excited as we looked at the menu and at everyone's food around us.You should know, my friend is just as big of a foodie as I am! (Dare I say that? You know it must be true!) Thank God, because we shared every single plate! The menu is split into snacks, then appetizers, then fish/pasta/meat. We ordered seven different things! Here is our order:
Snack - Proscuitto, Balsamic Mustard, Parmigiano Butter
Appetizer - Italian Broccoli, Parmigiano, Chili Oil, Lemon
Pasta - Rigatoni Diavola, San Marzano Tomatoes, Chilies, Oregano, Pecorino
- Sheeps Milk Cheese Filled Agnolotti, Saffron, Dried Tomato, Honey
- Mafaldini, Pink Peppercorn, Parmigiano
Dessert - Chocolate Soft-Serve Gelato, Amaretti Cookies, Candied Hazelnuts
- "Italian Job" Vanilla Soft-Serve Gelato, Olive Oil, Fennel Pollen, Sea Salt, Honey
The best way to explain it is to say that this meal was an experience. The way Chef Missy Robbins can make a dish seem so simple and fresh, yet layered with flavors I had never tasted is unreal. The snack we ordered was simple, but delish.Our appetizer was refreshing and full of flavor. The chili oil and lemon combo just works. I could go on and on about the pastas, so I'll just say that this is not a meal you'll want to scarf down until you get a satisfied feeling. This is a meal that you will not want to end. Each bite you taste more and more. Different flavors coming through and different "Aha!" moments. Fennel pollen and olive oil on soft serve gelato? I thought the same thing. Trust her! When the two desserts came to the table I was first to taste the Italian Job. I took one bite and looked at my friend and said, "Weird." I took a bite of the chocolate which was decadent, but then went back to the Italian Job and we COULD NOT STOP EATING IT until it was gone. This says a lot because I'm a huge chocolate girl... Unbelievable is all I can say.
To make the night even better, our waiters were just as passionate about the food as I imagine Chef Missy is. They were extremely knowledgeable (even though we almost knew our whole order before arriving) and they helped us decide on the details. They were genuinely so excited for us to try everything. The worst part about all of this greatness is that I'm craving it as we speak and I probably won't be able to get a reservation for months and months and months! If you're going to New York, do yourself a favor!
**SIDE NOTE** CHEF MISSY WON THE JAMES BEARD AWARD FOR BEST CHEF IN NYC AS I WAS TYPING THIS! Congratulations and I completely agree!