April 21, 2007 | BITE: My Journal

My Sfoglia Addiction

Melissa Dennis books the house and welcomes us to Sfoglia.                Photo: Steven Richter

    It's been ten months since I emerged from a gig at the 92nd Street Y, cut  across the street to Sfoglia….and fell in love with the sophisticated and savory cooking of Ron Suhanosky and his wife, Colleen Marnell-Suhanosky, especially his surprisingly delicious strawberry-flecked tomato sauce on spaghetti, and her addictive bread – a turbanlike brioche with crackling, buttery roof.  Ultimately,  both New York’s Adam Platt and Frank Bruni loved it, too.  Now it’s a challenge to get in.  The house is booking a month ahead, with little left but 10 o’clock tables.

    But Ron has been amazingly loyal and decided I should get half of the communal table Saturday night, when somebody cancelled.  Our friends, all first timers, loved the whimsical cottage clutter – the bare unmatched tables, gauzy linen curtains and the pink glass chandeliers from Murano. 

Linguine with monkfish polpete is the surprise hit of the evening.           Photo: Steven Richter
    It’s not as cheap as it was, now that the liquor license finally came through - but at least the Suhanoskys can make money now. (All the wines are available by the glass, from $8 to $18, a juice glass, that is, unless you ask for a wine goblet). The salumi plate for the table here is first-rate. I have a hard time not ordering the wild mussels – voluptuously plump with bits of salami, garlic, fennel seed, and tomato – ( I like the salami better in cubes then in strings, as it is tonight) – and the broth is good-to-the-last-peppery drop wonderful. There is always chicken cooked under a brick, gnocchi one way or another, and a rustic tart of the day.  In February, I wallowed in rich, baked goat cheese gnocchi alla parmigiana…thank heaven my friends all wanted to taste, or I might not have survived to dip into the hazelnut brittle-and-chocolate layered semifreddo, while claiming my fourth of Colleen’s lemon and pear filled rustic tart a la mode.  Of course, my friend Martin insisted I taste his creamy polenta with braised duck, tomato, and clove. I had no choice.  After all, THAT’S MY JOB.

    Of course, I’m not really working when I come here now. I’m eating and it’s my own money. I keep coming back.  Sometimes I have a contorni (a vegetable side) as a first course: I love string beans in tuna sauce and the treviso tossed with chunks of amaretti cookies.  The Roadfood Warrior finally decided he’d try something else beside his favorite pappardelle Bolognese on our fifth visit. It’s a struggle to choose when Colleen is doing bread pudding, as well as that tart. Force yourself to try the bread pudding, hot out of the oven, buttery and flecked with chocolate, maybe the ultimate bread pudding in town.

    It’s probably not fair to remind you how much you want to go to Sfoglia when you probably can’t get in until June, or maybe July.  But the Suhonskys are looking at a small space next door on 92nd Street, and if that opens up…it won't quite double the seats, but it will help.

1402 Lexington at 92nd Street. 212 831 1402.  Open for breakfast (7:30 to 11 a.m.), lunch, noon to 2:30 p.m., and dinner (5:30 to 11 p.m.).  Closed Sunday. 


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