I seem to have a tendency to move into neighborhoods that are labeled as “up and coming.” I spent nearly 3 years living near Penn Station, and now I’m pretty close to Port Authority. While Hell’s Kitchen has always been close, it’s still not “right on the corner.” Therefore, imagine my happiness when we went to the restaurant on the corner, and it turned out to be great!
Il Punto is on 9th Ave and 38th Street… right below all that tunnel traffic and the block that no one likes (9th Ave between 41st and 42nd, right at the back entrance of Port Authority).
The inside was actually quite lovely. You didn’t feel like you were in the “seedy” part of town at all (and for what it’s worth… I’d rather be in this neighborhood that is constantly filled with people than in a sleepy part of town where it’s just too easy for things to go unnoticed). While the restaurant was certainly more traditionally Italian, there were certainly decorations of the more eclectic kind (take, for instance, the little wagon in the photo below or the Asian table besides the main dining area). It felt more like someone decorated this place along their personal tastes as opposed to just fit a theme.
There were artichokes on the menu, so, of course, I got them. They were stuffed and baked in their fresh tomato sauce. The artichokes were decent, but the sauce was REALLY good. I sopped every last drop up with the bread. It was sweet but still tangy. Tons of flavor. The kind of sauce I want to learn to make!
Mike chose the veal shank special. It came with mushrooms and tasted like a marsala sauce without the marsala. Quite flavorful and delicious.
I wanted to be healthy, so I went with the pear salad. The pears were poached in red wine with cinnamon sticks… and they were AWESOME. The salad also had arugula, gorgonzola, bacon, walnuts, and lemon dressing. It was just a perfect salad.
I wish I could have truly enjoyed the Italian as Italian should be enjoyed (with ZERO regard to calories and fat). But for what we got, I was really impressed. It was quite unexpected, and I’m sure we’ll return.
Total Nom Points: 7 out of 10