Review By: Stefanie Parks –
I made a reservation at La Mela about a month ago. Daves parents were coming to visit and we wanted to take them somewhere in Little Italy because we had never been and we all love Italian food. La Mela was the only place in the area on our list, so our choice was easy. We just so happen to make the reservation before we ever knew that the San Gennaro festival would be going on at the same time. What perfect timing!
Typically, none of the restaurants in Little Italy have outdoor seating, but because of the festival, they all had outdoor areas where you could sit. Of course, we wanted to sit outside so that we could people watch throughout our meal and be part of the action that was the San Gennaro festival.
The first thing we did when we sat down was order a big bottle of wine. And when I say big, I mean the bottles that are really a bottle and a half. We looked through the menus and once we were all settled in with our wine, we put in our appetizer order. Dave and I both love baked clams, so those were a given and then we had also heard that the restaurant was famous for their hot antipasti platter, so we ordered that as well.
We got started on our wine, and almost as soon as we did, it began to pour (and when I say pour, I mean POUR). People were running all over the streets trying to get out of the rain, and even though La Mela’s outdoor area was covered, we were still getting pretty wet. A ton of people were moving inside, but we all thought the rain was kind of fun, so we just moved our table away from the edge of the outdoor area. Our waiter handled the whole thing amazingly, making sure we weren’t getting wet, and even getting soaked himself to lower the plastic covering on the windows for us.
As soon as everything calmed down a little bit (the rain didn’t calm down, just the people running around), our waited brought our our appetizers. Both the hot antipasti platter and the baked clams were awesome. I preferred the clams, but as you already know, I love baked clams!
Then, it was time to put in our entree orders. Dave and I shared Spaghetti and Meatballs with an Italian sausage on the side and the Chicken Parm. Dave’s parents ordered the Rigatoni Bolognese and the Chicken Scarpariello, which was voted the best in NY. As soon as we were done ordering, something truly amazing happened. A group of women sitting behind us tapped us on our shoulders and asked us if we would like the rest of their bottle of wine. They couldn’t finish it. It was one of the big bottles and was probably a little more than half-way full. Um, yes we would like your bottle of wine! Bring it on over and thank you ladies!!!
Our food came out and the first thing I dug into was the spaghetti and meatballs (well, meatball. There was one huge one on top of the spaghetti). It was delicious! And so was the chicken parm. None of us liked the Rigatoni Bolognese as much as the other dishes, but I have to say that the Chicken Scarpariello was the star of the night. Mostly because I would never think to order something like that at an Italian restaurant (or any restaurant really), but after trying it, I can 100% see why it’s a famous NY dish. It was so simple, yet so so delicious (yes, I needed the two “so’s” in there to emphasize the deliciousness).
By the time we were done with our meal, we were stuffed. But, it was Bob’s birthday so of course, we needed dessert. They brought out a Tiramisu and we sang happy birthday. I only had a bite of the tiramisu, but it was yummy. Ok, maybe I had two bites.
So, our first meal in Little Italy was a success (even in the pouring rain), and the best news is that we still have so many leftovers to eat this week! I can’t wait to re-live our meal at La Mela!