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Restaurant Review: Maria Pia

Full Disclosure:  I paid for this meal with my own money and I was in no way reimbursed for this blog post.  The opinions are completely my own.  Ok, actually we were taken out to dinner by some sales reps, but still, someone paid for the meal, and as always, I would never let that affect what I write about a restaurant.

Every year when we go to the big trade show in NYC, our biggest vendor always takes us out for a nice dinner.  This is always a meal that I mostly look forward to, but also kind of gives me anxiety. We don’t generally have any say in where we go to dinner, which is a bit stressful for me, but pretty much without exception the meals are always good.  Remember how I don’t love Mexican food, but last year we went to a Mexican restaurant and I had the best enchiladas I’ve ever had?  So yeah, generally good food (and good company and conversation) comes out of these experiences.

This year, they took us to Maria Pia.  (Warning – their website plays music upon opening.) This Italian restaurant definitely didn’t worry me as much as the Mexican restaurant last year, but still I often get concerned because smaller restaurants often have more limited menus.

I started out with some wine.  I don’t remember what type of red wine this was, but it was on the sweeter side and delicious!

Maria Pia Wine

Like pretty much any Italian restaurant, the meal started out with delicious bread.  Soft and squishy in the middle, crunchy on the outside, just how I like it.

Maria Pia Bread

I started with a mixed greens salad with their house dressing.  The dressing seemed to be some kind of vinaigrette.  The salad wasn’t bad, but really wasn’t anything special.  There was a bit too much dressing on it for my liking but not enough to stop me from eating it.

Maria Pia Salad

Another person at our table ordered the beef carpaccio to share.  I didn’t think I would try any – I’ve had it before, when I went to the tasting at Flemings - but I just couldn’t resist those slices of Parmesan and the green pile of arugula underneath.  It was SO good.  Beef carpaccio is definitely something I never ever thought I would like, but done well it is delicious.

Maria Pia CarpaccioFor my entree, I actually had a hard time deciding what to get!  Although the menu was small, there were lots of fresh pasta and seafood options (which is what a lean towards when at an Italian restaurant)!  I ended up deciding on the seafood risotto, which is in a tomato and brandy sauce.  I’m not sure I’ve ever actually had risotto before, but I’m not really sure why since I love rice.  This was SO good.  You can’t really tell by the photo but there are actually a bunch of shrimp in the rice as well as the mussels and clams that are sticking out of it.  I don’t love mussels and clams, so I only had a couple, but the rest was delicious.  I especially loved the crispy top layer or rice.  The portion was huge, so I definitely didn’t finished it all….but only because I was anticipating dessert and trying to save room.

Maria Pia RissotoThere wasn’t anything on the dessert menu that I was super excited for, but I saved room and was craving something sweet, so I decided to just go for one of them.  The one that sounded best to me was the creme brulee.  I don’t have creme brulee all that often so I’m not really sure what makes one better than another, but this was pretty good.  It definitely had that crispy top layer that I know is one thing it is known for. This portion was also quite large, especially after a filling entree, so I shared it with other people at the table.  The other people seemed to like it even more than I did!

Maria Pia Creme Brulee

Overall the meal was definitely a success.  Each course was very tasty, filling, and probably not something that I’d order very often.

Taste: A+, very good.
Cost: A-, the salad seemed a bit overpriced at $7.95 but my risotto was $22.95, and I feel like that was well worth it!

Would I go there again? I’m not sure.  I know I always say its hard to go to the same place twice in big cities that I don’t visit often but this really was some of the most delicious Italian food I’ve had in a long time.

Maria Pia on Urbanspoon

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