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Friday, April 29, 2022

#PeachysPicks #TerrificTakeout #IlCortile @ilcortile_nyc Since 1975 @IlCortile #125MulberryStreet A Peachy's Pick Since 2013 Il Cortile by #SalEsposito and Family Spring 2022

The best meatball in Manhattan!

We have simple taste.
We like the best.
We started singing the praises of Il Cortile in 2013, when it became a Peachy's Pick.  That was their first feature and it was so long ago we didn't have a takeout column.  Covid taught everyone that actually a takeout column is quite important!  We loved it so much we returned in 2014 putting it ahead of other new restaurants that couldn't compete.  Owner Sal Esposito and Peachy in 2014:
Sal and Peachy in 2022!
Of course they didn't age at all.  And if you are not aware, New York is BACK!  Tunnels to get into the city can be backed up significantly (more than an hour, maybe two or three!) so make sure you give yourself plenty of time because Il Cortile and their esteemed menu is deserving of it.  Il Cortile is such a significant part of Little Italy on Mulberry Street that it actually predates the birth of Peachy, and if you go outside Il Cortile and look up you will see Sal's great-grandmother Anna Esposito's name in the building, literally.  It took us many visits to realize that.  She was quite the matriarch with 23 kids: Anna Concetta Esposito.
So say a Hail Mary for her when you befriend the Diver Scallops!
Anna brought her whole family over from Italy and Il Cortile is a family business and it always has been, started by Sal's uncle.  We review a lot of restaurants and have considered well over 1,000 by now.  Some of them have great food.  Some of them have smart owners.  Some of them have fun owners.  Not many have all three but Il Cortile does and Sal has not changed at all and still has this personality:
Celebrate your life with Il Cortile!
Celebrate the end of Covid!
Il Cortile was also featured in the spring of 2015, and also the fall of 2015.   We do not assign quantitative ratings to reviews but you can tell when we like a place it is featured regularly.  Il Cortile was last featured in 2016 and it has been way too long since we returned.
Peachy and Sal

"The charm of Il Cortile is embodied in the high quality consistent Italian cuisine that our guests enjoy in comfortable elegance.  Our ambient courtyard is a beautiful spot for celebrating your life.  I look forward to welcoming you!"
-Sal Esposito, Owner of Il Cortile

We began our Il Cortile experience with gorgeous, refreshing Prosecco:
Sometimes inferior Prosecco can have an overly sweet taste but this one was a lovely brut.  Of course it is from Italy.
To the uninitiated, Il Cortile means the courtyard in Italian.  There's not a bad seat in the house but we have always been fortunate to sit in the courtyard and we love it there, day or nighttime.
We are extremely patriotic and proud to be American and were glad to see the American Flags at Il Cortile.  There is a column for that.
Everyone knows the story of The Temple of Dendur at The Met.  If you don't the short version is that Jackie Kennedy and others brought it over from Egypt and it was reassembled in the stunning space it is now (read the story of it on the south wall of The Met in this space when you visit).  At Il Cortile, Sal has his own Temple of Dendur story: the beautiful wall of Il Cortile was brought over from Rome in the mid 1980's and reassembled in the courtyard of the restaurant.  You must check out this historical aspect.  
We started our visit during Daylight, above, and this is what it looks like at night:
Everything is organized, clean and beautiful at Il Cortile.  In previous visits we have dined with the best cleaning professionals in the Tri-State (Sal might not have known their profession) and they agreed.
We have been eating out at restaurants our whole life-see the picture to the right of Peachy dining out when she was about three holding the lobster claw and spaghetti-and we started in Connecticut.  In Connecticut you automatically get a green salad with your dinner so we always incorporate at least one salad.  Panzanella is perfection above, and a festive party of tomato, cucumber and red onion is in a dressing of sparkling water, salt and pepper and garlic and accented with crisp Tuscan bread.
Il Cortile may be established but to stay on top they reinvent the classics.  Who wants plain old avocado toast when you could have Avocado Bruschetta at Il Cortile? 
From every angle it's delicious and right to ignite your appetite.
Grilled Tuscan bread is topped with avocado, red onion, roasted peppers, gorgonzola and balsamic glaze.  Take that, millenials, take that and eat it and you'll see that it is even better than ordinary avocado toast.
Without a doubt the meatballs are still our absolute favorite.  100% beef, they are decadent, delicious, and stepped up even more with cheese and topped with basil.  Every bite is pure ecstasy and you cannot pass go and collect $200 on your Il Cortile experience without them.
Meatball glamour shots:
The appetizer list is extensive and ambitious but not overdone.  We opted for two hot appetizers, starting with the Asiago Stuffed Mushrooms.  They arrive in quadruple fashion and the tantalizing delight is stuffed with roasted vegetables, pecorino, bread crumbs and topped with asiago cheese.  It is really this vivid looking which is indicative of both the freshness and the nutritional value.   We never edit any pictures.  You excel like Sal, or we do not publish.  We tell the truth!
Is the sky blue?
Is shopping fun?
Does Peachy like a convincing Italian red?
Of course the obvious answers to all of those questions is a resounding yes, and especially since you cannot go shopping at Century 21 anymore which we used to do before going to Il Cortile you especially need to indulge in a classic Italian red to accentuate your Il Cortile experience.  An intensely flavored Italian dry red, this Amarone we believe comes from Northeast Italy and we were impressed by both its versatility throughout the meal and its rich full body.
Even the bread basket is something to brag about.
An Italian Classic, Fried Baby Calamari served with their signature marinara sauce is elevated, light and the elite version of this dish.  Some fried calamaris are too heavy for us or too breaded or come with inferior sauce.  This one is just right for Goldilocks Peachy, who has had the inferior versions elsewhere and you have not read about them.  We only publish the positive.  If you aspire to great calamari ambitions, try this.
There are 14 pasta choices on the menu today at Il Cortile, and narrowing it down is kind of like trying on shoes and figuring out which of the 14 pairs you are going to buy.  Saks has a zip code for that and to that end perhaps Il Cortile should have a zip code for their pasta.  This trip, we tried the Linguine and Clams.  Perfectly sauteed sensual little clams will delight your appetite as they luxuriate in stunning garlic oil sauce that will leave high accolades in your stomach.  Below, do befriend the Capellini Piselli e Prosciutto Speciali: beautifully appointed angel hair pasta elegantly basks brilliantly in an enchanted meat sauce with tomatoes, mushrooms, peas and cream topped with a thin slice of baked prosciutto, giving it the right touch.
Il Cortile has earned accolades:
But what is important to us is what do other people we know think?  We don't operate on a degree of separation.  Since the last time we went to Il Cortile, we have befriended Willy Schirripa online, and he just celebrated his third birthday (check him out on his Dad's instagram) and if you want to party like it's your birthday you eat the meatballs at Il Cortile.  When Peachy was doing exactly that she messaged Willie to see if he liked to eat them too and he answered in the affirmative giving her the A-OK sign.  He is obviously a smart dog.  Also you should know Willie's Uncle Jim has his own table at Il Cortile and Gandolfini is probably up there with Anna Esposito reading this review and maybe even drinking that Amarone.
For those in the know, you know that after each of the Sopranos was killed off, they dined at Il Cortile.  Buy and read Wille's Dad's book by the way!  We love how he tracks it on the bestseller list.  Tell your brother Paul Schrippa the bunny that the salads at Il Cortile are terrific.
Divine to discover are the Capesante con Carciofi e Parmigiano!  Perfectly pan-sauteed diver scallops are completely compelling especially with these ambrosial artichokes and parmigiano "gratinee" a significant step above your average scallop.  These scream summer is around the corner!  For the more carnivorously ambitious diners, may we suggest the Chicken Scarpariello below.  Oven roasted, this chicken teams up with succulent sausage and is tremendous in the white wine finish with mushrooms, sage, and springs rosemary sauce topped with crisp roasted potatoes culminating in a hearty, wondrous entree.

A cappuccino and tiramisu both executed at a sublime level ensure your Il Cortile experience is a smashing success!
Il Cortile continues to Earn Our Highest Recommendation.

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