June 26, 2006 | Insatiable Critic


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

        Halfway through dinner at Sfoglia, our crew of passionate gourmands is feeling jolts of discovery. How can it be that Ron and Colleen Marnell Suhanosky have been tending this offshoot of their Nantucket restaurant for three months and it hasn’t popped up on our foodie radar? We marvel at Colleen’s crusty, slightly salty, olive-oil-slicked bread, still warm from the oven—perfect with the excellent cured meats or a platter of unusual cheeses and homemade plum jam. Smartly inflected vegetables stand out on the abbreviated, changing menu: string beans in tuna sauce. Tangles of bitter rapini in black-olive pesto. Marinated red peppers topped with crushed amaretti. I can’t resist the special black bass because it sits in a nest of puntarelle, Roman greens I love (fresh that day from the Greenmarket). Wary of spaghetti with strawberries—it seems gratuitously cheeky—we are amazed that we actually like the riff of the ripe local fruit and balsamic against San Marzano tomato, a reflection of the chef’s fascination with Renaissance recipes. Similarly, roasted plums get paired with the special spiedini of pork and sweet Italian sausage. If it’s a choice between hazelnut semifreddo with deep, dark chocolate sauce and crushed hazelnut brittle or a semifreddo of grappa-spiked mascarpone with caramel sauce and strawberries, gourmand bravura requires at least a taste of each.

1402 Lexington Ave. at 92nd St. 212 831 1402

Patina Restaurant Group

Providing a continuous lifeline to homebound elderly New Yorkers