They did it again! Whitestone resident Nick Nubile and partner/chef Fabio Hakill have created a unique evening of opera and wonderful food at their restaurant, Fabio Piccolo Fiore.
Just minutes from the Midtown Tunnel, the restaurant has become our favorite meeting place for dinner in Manhattan.
Fabio has a creative Italian menu and this past Friday night they added a “tribute to Luciano Pavarotti.” Opera singer Luciano Lamonarca, accompanied by wonderful pianist Roberto Ruvio, entertained us through our 3 and 1/2 hour dinner. The performance added to the evening. The music made us linger over our meal and relax after a busy week. We were four people and enjoyed a wide variety of dishes delivered by a professional and enthusiastic wait staff.
I had the Antipasto Piccolo Fiore, a combination of grilled Portobello mushrooms, roasted peppers, asparagus, artichokes, scamorza and smoked salmon - an interesting combo in a light oil dressing. Stu had a seafood antipasto with huge mussels, shrimps, scallops, clams and a stuffed mushroom. The other couple had a Radicchio salad, a large portion, and New Zealand mussels baked in white wine, tomatoes, dressed with garlic croutons. All perfectly cooked and mouthwateringly delicious.
After a few songs, we ordered a penne with pomodoro sauce. We split it four ways to leave room for the entr/e. Pasta is one of Fabio’s specialties and the menu offers an excellent selection. It can be prepared as a main dish - perfect for splitting - or half portions.
I’ve come to love ordering whole fish grilled but since they ran out of branzino, I had an orata, a Mediterranean fish flown in that day! I fileted it myself because I love the well-seasoned crispy skin.
My husband had tilapia, a farm raised fish, done with livornese sauce - a tomato sauce with herbs de province and olives. The fish was moist and just perfectly spiced.
Our dining companions had a special of the night, lobster tail with grant shrimp and her husband opted for the grilled lamb chops.
Although Fabio has built a reputation as a great Italian chef, he has also developed an extensive dessert menu. We sampled a few things but the knockout for me was chef Fabio’s Special Dessert, a fruit and ice cream tower with Grand Marnier and fresh mint! It disappeared quickly! There was also a mouthwatering warm chocolate cake, and a tasty frutti di Bosco Tart.
Their extensive wine menu by the bottle or glass enhanced each course. My husband loves grappa and they offered the Italian brandy served in an unusual tower dispenser ending a perfect meal.
All credit cards are accepted and there is plenty of free parking on the street after 7 p.m. weekdays. A garage next door has discounted parking.
The restaurant was booked solid so reservations are recommended. There is a spacious bar to relax in until your table is ready. Try it, you’ll love it!
FABIO PICCOLO FIORE
230 East 44th Street
New York, N.Y. 10017
Hours: Open seven days a week, Monday to Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Friday 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.,
Saturday 4 p.m. to midnight and
Sunday 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Credit Cards: All major.
Parking: On street and nearby garages
Featuring full bar, take-out and private rooms.