The term “scarcity” gets used a lot in the world of economics, and according to my state school education, the definition is when the value of a resource is determined by its availability in relation to how many people want or need it. Let’s apply that concept to this review.
Here, the resource is “a restaurant that isn’t awful near Penn Station,” and according to the amount of times we get asked about such a thing every day, there are a whole lot of people who want or need it. L’Amico takes great economic advantage of some scarcity.
Not that there aren’t other restaurants in this area - this is actually the second dining establishment to open in the lobby of the Eventi Hotel, also home to Lupulo. But scarcity isn’t about how many restaurants there are in a certain area. It’s about how many good ones there are. And Lupulo just isn’t very good.
L’Amico, however, is very good, and whoever conceptualized this restaurant is very familiar with both what the average New Yorker wants, and what this part of town definitely does not have - an aestethically pleasing restaurant that serves food that people like to eat. Like pasta. And pizza. And gelato. I also seem to remember from my state school economics class that anytime you replace a vowel with an apostrophe in the name of a business, revenues increase by 28%. It’s called the L’Artusi law.
That said, value correlates with availability, and if you were to put L’Amico in another part of town where restaurants with apostrophes in their names are in no short supply, it wouldn’t be so valuable. While the food here is definitely good, and the room is visually appealing, it gets extremely cramped during dinner hours. The bar is also very small and serves mediocre cocktails, and for some reason the dinner crowd consists mostly of Upper East Side women who look up to Bethenny Frankel and dress like Indiana Jones when they go out.
Our advice would be to use it whenever you find yourself in need of something near Penn Station that won’t make you sad, or anytime you can get out of your Midtown office in the middle of the day for a proper meal and maybe a glass of wine - L’Amico is at its best during lunch.
Then again, an occasion like that might be scarce, too.
On our visits, this burrata was served with black truffles. If you’re lucky, it still will be when you visit. No safer order could possibly exist on a restaurant menu.
This octopus is baked instead of grilled, which you’re probably more familiar with, but you’ll hardly notice a difference. It’s octopus as you know it, served with some crushed potatoes that might actually be the best thing on the plate.
Bright red, raw tuna squares, served with pickled beets. Proceed.
Brussels Sprouts & Salsify Salad
Salsify is sort of like celery, except that it’s not disgusting. Here it makes for a nice mix-in to liven up an otherwise standard plate of sprouts.
We’ve had several good pizzas at L’Amico. There’s a vegetable-focused charred kale pie that is pretty tasty, a sausage pizza with shredded shishito peppers on top, and a special pomodoro version that was available as a special on our first visit that was the best of the bunch. Moral of the story: get a pizza. Regardless of what’s on top, the crust is good enough to keep you happy.
Served with spicy sausage, this is our favorite pasta on the L’Amico menu and it should make an appearance on your table.
Roasted Spiced Duck Breast
A really nice piece of duck, which is pretty much the only thing we can ever think to say about duck. Order this instead of the chicken if you have a soul.