This week I mentioned the wonderful cheese goodness I had last week during my lunch at Il Punto, an Italian restaurant on 9th Ave in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood. Il Punto serves classic Italian dishes from the regions of Florence, Naples, Milan, Rome, Puglia, and beyond. It is a great place to get a solid and flavorful meal, prepared with care and attention, and beautifully presented. I found it to be a calm, soothing spot for a leisurely lunch with a new friend.
After our appetizers of caprese salad and burrata with figs and prosciutto, we were presented with a dish called Timballo. As one of Il Punto’s signature dishes, it was reminiscent of a round lasagna and was obviously al forno (from the oven) – it was baked and had a pleasant crust on it. Within there were wide sheets of pasta layered with béchamel, surrounded by a beautiful meat ragu reminiscent of a bolognese sauce. It was rich, savory, and smooth, and I loved it. I would absolutely order this again.
My dining companion and I split this dish, but it could easily be split between four people, or eaten by one for a satisfying lunch or light dinner.
For our main courses, salmon and chicken were ordered. My chicken was battuta – pounded until thin, then grilled. It was served with salad on top – think of it as an upside down salad with grilled chicken, heavy on the chicken. Delicious fries accompanied it, which were well cooked (crisp and not soggy at all) and extremely tasty.
(I must admit, one of my vices is fries – when it gets cooler, I want to try making Nourished Kitchen’s lacto fermented french fries.)
It was quite a large piece of chicken, so I was happy to take half of it home. The next day I enjoyed it slathered with homemade pesto and it was really, really good. The fries were just as tasty, too!
My dining companion had grilled salmon topped with some beautiful julienned vegetables. The lemon came in a little cheesecloth slipcover, ensuring that when squeezed, no seeds would end up on the fish – such a nice detail. The fish was well cooked and pleasingly moist.
Finally, for dessert, my dining companion ordered a gorgeous plate of cheese and fruit. It looked fantastic and it’s so great to have this sort of thing available to end the meal.
I, on the other hand, decided to splurge a bit on dessert, and chose the Italian cheesecake. These days, I prefer the ricotta-based Italian cheesecake to the cream cheese-based American style cheesecake. It tends to be less sweet, carries any citrus flavors better, and ricotta is much less processed than your average commercial cream cheese. This cake was lovely, served with a little strawberry coulis on it, with some seasonal blueberries.
I had a cappuccino with my cheesecake. It was served with little biscotti which tasted mostly of cinnamon and almonds, and again, not overly sweet. I like espresso drinks that are not supersized, so this was just a nice “cup of Giuseppe.” Excellent steamed milk, too – rich and creamy, with plenty of microbubble action going on.
And what a pretty wave design the barista made with the milk! It’s the little things, you know…
The staff was attentive and kind, and I felt well taken care of. The space itself is comfortable enough for a relaxed lunch, though refined enough to satisfy the needs for a business luncheon, a gathering of good friends, or even a date. I’ve been there at night time and it’s also very nice after dark.
This review refers to lunch, and general pricing is as follows:
Pasta: $14-$22 (Timballo runs $22)
These are moderate Manhattan lunch prices. Also, please note that there is no lunch special, though there is a $35 prix fixe menu at dinner.
I had a lovely time and would definitely return, especially for that timballo!
Il Punto Ristorante
507 9th Avenue
New York, NY
Disclaimer: lunch was comped by the restaurant.