I ate at Dani, Don Pintabona's new restaurant, with his publicist. I learned that New York Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni — who, bless his heart, is constantly recognized by New York's savvy restaurateurs — managed to slip into the restaurant unnoticed in order to write his Diner's Journal.
I learned from our waitress a strategy for what to do when the half of a couple who isn't paying the bill is flirting with you (a problem that threatens your tip and that I couldn't solve during the summer I waited tables at Azar's Big Boy in Denver; then again, it only happened to me once). You have to include the other half of the couple in the conversation, making it kind of a non-exclusionary verbal threeway so that everyone's happy.
I learned that former Times restaurant critic Mimi Sheridan can be very well-behaved in a restaurant. She was dining at Dani tonight, too, and before leaving she found Don to thank him and express her joy at eating delicious food. I'd expect her to be well-behaved, but it's good to know that she is.
I already knew that Jeff Butler was the young chef de cuisine at Dani, but I was reminded of that fact.
Housemade ricotta with grated Marcona almonds, wildflower honey and crostini
Housemade spiced coppa with pickled cauliflower, oil-cured olives and peperoncini
Grilled Octopus with parsley potatoes, oregano and peperoncini
Bucatini with fennel, sardines and currants
Ravioli with butternut sqush, toasted pistachios and labneh
Handmade Italian fennel sausage with broccoli rabe and rosemary potatoes
Grilled swordfish with mint pesto, warm shrimp and farro salad
Grapefruit and Campari granita
Mint panna cotta with caramelized blood orange and Sicilian pistachios
Warm steamed chocolate cake with hazelnut gelato