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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Peachy Picks Da Umberto Our Coverage Sponsored by Cosmopolitan Dental, Official Dentist of Whom You Know

Vittorio Assante, The Peachy Deegan Aperitivo and Peachy

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It's not who you know, it's WHOM YOU KNOW and we know Vittorio Assante!
We had heard he had a smashing menu before but he made it even better last night by creating the Peachy Deegan Aperitivo: prosecco, grappa, and a fresh fruit mixture consisting of peach, blueberries and raspberries. It was amazing and we were honored! 
Da Umberto was first featured in Tasty Tidbits:
We are pleased to say it has graduated with flying colors to Peachy's Picks.
It's phenomenal cuisine, pleasant atmosphere, classy decor, and genuine care and commitment by an owner that literally grew up at the venue and treats it like a family member have impressed us immensely.  For you non-Italian speakers, Da Umberto has the same connotation as Chez Peachy, meaning in English it translates to Umberto's Place.  There's really not an English word for Da or Chez but we think you catch our drift...
Vittorio's dad was named Umberto and he started this winner in 1987 and Vittorio has taken over since his father's passing. Vittorio Assante is not only the owner but also the Executive Chef!  Going strong for 25 years now, Da Umberto is a diamond in the rough of Chelsea that you absolutely cannot miss. You might miss them as they are very low-key from the street...which is of course another classy aspect of Da Umberto.  We asked Vittorio what his dad would tell us if he were here and Vittorio responded that his dad would say "I taught you well!" with pride.  We think he'd be right!
Peachy was in the pink:
The Da Umberto hit parade began with an amazingly creamy burrato con pomodorini cotti al salmi which was the perfect start to a wonderful evening.  Very fresh, the burrato ignited our appetite for Italian cuisine the way it should be!  The tomatoes were invitingly sweet and complemented the extraordinary cheese well.
Umberto was from Sicily so we drank a terrific red from Southern Sicily:
The Maitre'D, Gian Paolo, below, helped choose this wine which was tremendously versatile throughout the evening.  It is from Southern Sicily to be exact, and the main grape is Nero D'Avola (60%) -Avola is a city.  It is from a village called Vittoria and is a greek brand of grape that has distinct citrus notes due to the blood oranges that are nearby.  The other 40% is composed of Frappato.  This wine compliments both fish and meat and is made with organic grapes.  We found it to be delicious with great legs.
Peachy began with the Carpaccio beef filet, parmigiano and white truffle essence.  You know after the Cavedoni review we are on a serious truffle was extraordinarily thin and delicate and every bite was tantalizing!  This has got to be one of the most coveted appetizers and the menu is so spectacular it was tough to make a final decision!  
Another aspect of Da Umberto that cannot be overlooked is the true dedication of the staff.  Everyone we encountered was the utmost in professionalism and friendly as well.  Every detail was taken care of promptly and Cristian Baldi, a veteran of Da Umberto since 2005, was a terrific waiter.  Cristian started with Umberto himself.  Here he is:
You cannot go to Da Umberto without trying the Raviolacci:
It was so fantastic it replaced the sugar plums dancing in Peachy's head in her dreams.  You will be dreaming about it too after it hits your tastebuds.  Made on the premises, the Raviolacci truffled mushroom ravioli will absolutely melt in your mouth.  This is the epitome of fine dining.  With truffle porcini cream, white truffle and white truffle oil, this dish will leave you wondering where it has been all your life and the answer is amazingly, Chelsea!
Not to be overlooked either is the Cavatelli with grilled corn, smoked bacon and parmigiano.  This is made by Vittorio's friend whom he has known for twenty-five years.  Simply exemplary, this primi confirmed that Da Umberto knows pasta.
The scampi also was to-die-for.  Again, it was so fresh!!!  Seasoned perfectly, the roasted shrimp was tender and presented beautifully as well.  It has a tangy, citrusy kick that is fantastic for the springtime.  Served with shallots and white wine, the shrimp is in a party with cherry tomatoes and the result is tops.  Dessert carts are rare but we found one being presented by Fausto from South America:
If you know Peachy, you know she likes berries!  (Which made Vittorio's aperitivo splendid too!) Less was more with dessert and the fresh fruit spelled spring with the right flair.
Also note Da Umberto has earned the five diamond award every year since 2009 so we aren't the only people singing its praises...
And a bit of cream with the berries was the perfect touch!
Our esteemed panelist adds:
Anyone who is on the search for great Italian need not look any longer. Da Umberto is your place! Located on West 17th between 6th and 7th is an true Italian paradise. The owner Vittorio was the epitome of hospitality and graciously greeted us into his acclaimed restaurant and was making his rounds to us and other customers the entire night, ensuring that everyone was having a top notch experience. We started with some burrata which came recommended to us by Vittorio and served to us by our lovely waiter Cristian, who started working at Da Umberto's 8 years ago! There's nothing I love more than a fresh mozzarella so this was such a treat! The cherry tomatoes were nice and sweet which complimented the burrata wonderfully! 
We also had the opportunity to taste the truffled mushroom ravioli and Cavatelli with grilled corn, smoked bacon and parmigiano.  Vittorio even peppered it himself:
Both of these dishes were rich with flavor and were made with incredibly fresh el dente pasta that melted in my mouth! For Antipasti I started off by ordering from the specials of the night, specifically "Calamari fra' diavolo" which was calamari in a spicy tomato sauce topped with a garnish of basil. 
The calamari was cooked perfectly, almost to the consistency of a fresh pasta! The sauce had a great kick to it and worked perfectly for this dish. The Mater Di picked a fantastic bottle of red wine to compliment our Antipasti and Secondi dishes called Cerasuolo Di Vittoria. The wine was from the south part of Sicily and was made with grapes from organic farming! It comes from a village that has blood oranges surrounding the orchards, giving the grapes notes of citrus which works perfectly with fish and meat. What an excellent pick! The wine was so smooth and delicious! 
For my Secondi I ordered the "Capricciosa," which is pan breaded breast of chicken, bufala mozzarella, fresh tomatoes and balsamic syrup. The chicken was thinly pounded which gave it a nice consistency and the breading had such a deliciously rich flavoring to it! The fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and balsamic glaze gave this dish a fresh new spin on the Italian Chicken Parmesan dish that everyone knows and loves. This dish leaves the traditional chicken Parmesan in the dust! For dessert I felt it important to try Da Umberto's legendary Tirimisu along with some limoncello to cleanse the palate. The Tirimisu was exactly what I would expect for legendary. The cream was so light, fluffy and fresh! I enjoyed every bite! The limoncello was a great note to end on, sweet and citrus! Now when I'm down in Chelsea, I don't have to stress about finding a great Italian restaurant that I can enjoy with my friend. Da Umberto is a place I plan on visiting again and again in my future!
Peachy Picks Da Umberto!
Da Umberto is Highly Recommended by Whom You Know.

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