By Hillary Latos
A long standing Christmas Eve tradition from Southern Italy, The Feast of the Seven Fishes, is also known as La Vigilia, a long standing seafood centric meal that lasts until midnight to commemorate the birth of baby Jesus. This holiday season through January 31, Asellina’s Executive Chef Andrea Montobbio brings the same Italian tradition to life with his contemporary version of this celebratory meal.
To bring out the unique tasting notes of the exquisite ingredients used, each dish is paired with a matching wine or champagne to tantalize the palette. The first course begins with a generous crudo tasting including fresh East Coast oysters, hamachi with mint and limoncello, and paper thin scallops carpaccio balanced with celery root puree, truffle and caviar and paired with Moet & Chandon champagne. This prelude leads to a rich seafood cioppino like stew- Caciucco alla Livornese combining Mediterranean seafood delicacies like mussels, clams and branzino in a rich saffron laced tomato broth. This is the perfect interlude for the hearty risotto with a sweet and savory mascarpone sauce accented with tart granny smith apples and Maine lobster and paired with a white Soave Tuscan wine. Next, cleanse the palette with a bittersweet Gran Marnier sorbetto with candied orange peels. The centerpiece of the feast is the luscious house made square spaghetti pasta dressed with a rich white truffle carbonara sauce with prawns and house smoked pancetta that’s finished with a Valpolicella Allegrini wine. If there is still room, the simple yet divine wood fired halibut is cooked to perfection with a perfectly crisp skin outside and tender delicate meat inside served with braised fennel and thyme potatoes. An Italian feast wouldn’t be complete without a sweet ending. A classic Italian holiday treat is the sweet egg based panettone. Chef Montobbio has thrown a modern twist on this Christmas classic with a panettone bread pudding served with hazelnut gelato and topped with candy bacon that touches all of our favorite sensory tasting notes. Due to the labor intensive care that goes into creating this special holiday feast, reservations need to be booked at least a week in advance for $250 per person.
Asellina has captured the rustic flavors of Italy bringing them to the heart of the Flatiron district in the Garnsevoort Park hotel making it a hotspot since its opening. Exuding a sexy vibe with soft copper lighting, warm wood decor, and sumptuous banquettes, the atmosphere is the perfect backdrop to indulge in their fine cuisine. Other signature dishes include wood fired thin crust pizzas topped with delectable toppings like truffle and prosciutto, classic pastas such as a rich papardelle with veal bolognese or spicy tagliatelle with littleneck clams. Whether dining on the sumptuous Feast of the Seven Fishes or stopping in for the lively scene, you are guaranteed an authentic taste of Italian hospitality at Asellina.
Asellina 420 Park Avenue South, NYC 646 666 4510