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Tuesday, March 14, 2023

#PeachysPicks #TerrificTakeout @SerafinaGroup #Serafina by Movers and Shakers #FabioGranato and #VittorioAssaf : Brand New Location 241 Madison Avenue at East 38th Manhattan Serafina Group Founded 1995 A Peachy's Pick Since 2009

Fabio, Vittorio, and Branzino!
It's not who you know and it never has been.
Whom You Know is a statement.
Not a question.
One of our most famous columns is our restaurant review column, Peachy's Picks, where the best restaurants graduate to and are repeat features.
How did we get that way?
In 2009 when we started, we had no history of professionally reviewing restaurants, however, we were among the very first writing online and we had written in print professionally for years before.
Who gave us a shot?

We liked Fabio and Vittorio so much we made them Movers and Shakers BEFORE we reviewed their restaurant (this would absolutely never happen today); we had obviously eaten there before and we reviewed Brasserie Cognac (sixth restaurant reviewed ever) before Serafina technically, and also reviewed Manana and Geisha, all of which were Peachy's Picks.  We started working with them so long ago there wasn't even a takeout column.   You could even drink The Peachy Deegan cocktail there at their restaurants made with Star Vodka (no longer in existence), but no one can drink that anymore because Mover and Shaker Charles Ferri is making something new so stay tuned.   Read their story to see why we think maybe Fabio and Vittorio should also be in Peachy Ahoy.

Serafina is now the oldest restaurant we started working with that we still work with and we could not be more thrilled to announce its smashing return to Peachy's Picks with their brand new hot number, 241 Madison Avenue at East 38th!  A brilliant, high-class venue with upscale ambiance and stellar cuisine, this latest, greatest incarnation evidences their illustrious growth and hard work over the past many years.  There were only a few Serafinas when we met them in 2009; they started the restaurant in 1995.  They are literally all over Manhattan now and all over the worldOh, just like us!  We are so glad to reconnect.  Peachy Deegan has emerged dusty from the Whom You Know archives (her clothes are now going to Hallak) and with those two Mover and Shaker interviews, we are just getting started.  Like a fine wine, Serafina has only improved with age!
Peachy's degree from Boston College is in History, and at Serafina, no one needs to put on rose-colored glasses to enhance the vision of their life; it is that way naturally.  
This is our recent experience at 241 Madison Avenue.
Central to our philosophy across everything is to work with the Brand Owners and we are so happy to see Vittorio and Fabio; however, they cannot be omnipresent at every venue all the time, so we met their A Team!  
Below, meet straight from Milan, Italy Sibilla Varlonga, Assistant Manager; General Manager Jamie C. Selkirk (also above) who joined February 20, 2023 and has more years of restaurant experience than Peachy has been alive: Serafina is his 80th restaurant, and Executive Chef Fernando Pliego who joined Serafina in 2005 at 61st and Madison.  Ertis was a dedicated server.
Serafina 241 Madison Avenue at East 38th Street opened February 7, 2023 and we hope we are the first to issue a formal review.  
We were graciously greeted with bread and their signature olive oil and their competitive wine list, from which Peachy picked Super Tuscan.  Lasagna Al Forno was first in the batting order from the Pasta section, and the quintessential homemade beef sauce and the genius layers are the perfect answer to a cold, snowy day in Manhattan like today.  All pasta are traditionally cooked al dente like in Italy so says the menu.  The ingredients were in perfect proportion and it absolutely hit the spot.
An aerial view:
Glamour shot:
Obviously we have never been into the common, mundane or run-of-the mill anything, and pictures speak louder than words, take note of our second edible: Carpaccio Di Filetto and Tartufo Nero!
To all of you that visit Manhattan that want to know the difference between any old Italian place on the corner and a high-quality pinkies-out fabulous spot like Serafina: you only need to look at that picture above.  Sent straight from the heavens is thinly sliced filet mignon with intoxicatingly delicious warm black truffle sauce and boiled potatoes.  When we say we like meat and potatoes, this is what we mean!!!  Smashing plate party guests like arugula also come to boogey down on this dish.  This menu item is starred which indicates it is also Fabio and Vittorio's suggestion.
Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus and Yes, New York Rangers, this is the Chicken Parm you should be eating a couple blocks east of Madison Square Garden before a game if you want to win the Stanley Cup this year.  If you are new to Whom You Know and our previous 27,000 posts have not appealed to you yet, you should know we never, ever edit pictures.  You excel like Fabio and Vittorio or we do not publish.  
Petto di Pollo Parmigiana is composed of Free-range Chicken Breast, wonderfully breaded and sauteed, topped with tomato and mozzarella.  It comes with a side of penne pomodoro and in Peachy's case, it was served to her by Executive Chef Fernando Pliego, whose 18-year tenure at Serafina evidences the quality they keep.
Fernando's knowledge of the history of the brand is superb and it was fun to reminisce with him, and also sip Super Tuscan.  Though Peachy always knows what she wants, she is happy to hear and experience what professionals believe they excel in.
Before we start on Fernando's choices, we will premise it by saying after trying them, we agree they are among the best.  First, under Classic Antipasti: Yellowfin Tuna Tartare, imported from the Mediterranean Sea.  Sushi grade yellowfin tuna, wasabi, avocado and ponzu sauce is festive and elegant, and sings a song of springtime right around the corner.  The tuna is exceptionally fresh, and the arrangement is stunning.  Every bite was luxury.
Fernando's recommended pasta is the Ravioli Ai Porcini, which on the menu is starred which indicates it is also Fabio and Vittorio's suggestion.  Ricotta and porcini ravioli are sauteed with porcini mushrooms and you'll fall in love with the richness of the flavor.  All pasta is handmade at the 55th and Broadway location and could not be fresher.
Peachy's most favorite Serafina menu of all time is the Lobster Spaghetti which we remember fondly and we hope we see it on the menu again.  To that end, we ordered the Lobster Ravioli, which came so appropriately in a heart shape because we love them!  The lobster bisque sauce they do the backstroke in is sublime and a complete hat trick in your stomach.
The best places do the classics well.
We highly applaud the eight salad choices and next time, Peachy has more salad ambitions, particularly given our upcoming hits from Miraclesuit.  Fernando suggested the Serafina Chicken Salad, and though in 99% of the cases featured here we want the dressing on the side, in this case we wanted it dressed which they did to perfection.  Free-range Chicken Breast teams up with romaine, mesclun, sun-dried tomatoes, raisins, pine nuts and amazing pesto dressing.  The symphony of goodness was music to our palate and epitomized fresh.  A great burger is a menu-must in Manhattan, and the (starred by Fabio and Vittorio!) Serafina Burger delivers big.
Inside, it was perfectly medium-rare:
Wagyu beef, fontina cheese, avocado, caramelized onions and french fries are sure to delight every discriminating hungry stomach.  Of course there is also lettuce and tomato and this was truthfully the first item that magically disappeared in its entirety from the review.  Actions speak louder than words.  Finally, for fish we chose the (also starred by Fabio and Vittorio) Branzino Cherry Tomatoes.  Sauteed in a white wine sauce and cherry tomatoes, this gorgeous Branzino is spectacularly served with roasted potatoes and asparagus.
Peachy still Picks Serafina We Love You Fabio and Vittorio!!!
No one here is getting older, only better.
Owner Fabio Granato, Assistant Manager Sibilla Varlonga from Italy, Owner Vittorio Assaf, Executive Chef Fernando Pliego and General Manager Jamie C. Selkirk
Serafina at its brand-new pinkies-out ooooh la la 241 Madison Avenue at East 38th Street is Highly, Highly Recommended and we can't wait to visit every location that we haven't been to yet, Serafina!

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