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Belated Review Recap: Torrisi Italian Specialties

This week, Sam Sifton gave the expected twospot to the miraculous hit restaurant, Torrisi Italian Specialties. We’ve not dined there—and with reports of two-hour waits and reservations not taken, perhaps never will—but the review was in line with everything else we’ve read:

During the day, Torrisi is a sandwich shop modeled on those of the neighborhood old school. You can get a good chicken parm or an excellent turkey hero there, some flavorful contorni, a can of beer, a small bottle of Coke. The dishes are all smart upgrades on classics, beautifully cooked, humble Italian-American lunch fare for an era that respects the form.

At night, though, the room is transformed into a restaurant of around 20 seats, in which artists make work and customers consume it. The prix fixe for this is $50. The food is still beautifully cooked, still aggressively Italian-American…

Sadly, we think this conclusion is absolutely on the money:

And how long can that last? The Torrisi project as it stands surely must run its course, the way any performance does, the way any combination of kinetic energy and art must eventually fall off its axis. (What happens if the money gets tight? No one counts on the tears.) Presumably Mr. Carbone and Mr. Torrisi will cook this way until it gets boring, and then will do something else.

Which means the time to get to Torrisi Italian Specialties is now.

Here’s our usual weekly list of Sifton’s lazy prose and odd exaggerations:

  • …Torrisi Italian Specialties, a tiny and terrific new restaurant…
  • …an excellent turkey hero…beautifully cooked…
  • But the dishes…are edible paintings
  • …the restaurant shows itself to be towering in its ambition
  • There is always warm, just-made mozzarella…outrageously good

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