Shout out to my girls, Christie and Julia!
When one of my girlfriends said we were going to have dinner at a place called Tommy Lasagna, the image I conjured in my mind was of a rustic stone chamber with a rickety wooden table and splintery chairs, a kindly portly grandma serving us pasta with her famous Sunday sauce and pouring wine from a jug of grape juice she fermented in the cellar, and the candlelight casting long shadows against the wall. Y'know, something romantic and picturesque and smacking of Italia.
Tommy Lasagna was sort of the exact opposite, but the food was equally as delicious and the whole experience was divine. Tommy Lasagna is in the Gramercy neighborhood of Manhattan. Its decor is sleek, modern, and minimalist - nothing like the rustic, rural Olive Garden-esque wannabe I had in mind. My dining companions were starving by the time I arrived, so we ordered quickly and we maaaaaay have experienced that "your eyes are bigger than your stomach" phenomenon that is so dangerous, yet so delicious.....
You know that thing where no one wants to be the only one drinking an alcoholic beverage at dinner with a group? My girlfriends said, "Sandra, we'll drink if you drink!" I figured it being the Friday at the end of a long week, I said, "Sure, I'll have a sgroppino [vodka, prosecco, lemon sorbet, mint]" which was promptly echoed by a chorus of "I'll have one too!" The tall flutes of bubbly they delivered to us were certainly delicious, and also dangerous (recurring theme, I think).
We ordered a few appetizers to share: the highly-rated-on-Yelp rice balls [fried arancini rice balls filled with cheese] and the arugula-pear-goat-cheese-pine-nut-lemon-vinaigrette salad. The arancini came out smelling, expectedly, like morsels of deep-fried goodness. I loved deep-fried goodness, and the arancini were indeed amazing: piping hot, al dente rice giving way to ooey gooey melted cheese in the center, with chopped bits of meat studded throughout. I think if the three of us were a little bit less civilized, we'd be fighting each other for the three balls on the plate.
Next was the arugula salad. I'm a fan of anything with arugula in it, and this salad was fantastic. I wasn't sure how the pear was going to fit into the scheme of the rest of the ingredients, but it was nice to have a crunchy sweet pear sliver (more like Asian pear and less like the softer mushier Bosc pear) between bites of the peppery arugula, tangy goat cheese, and sour vinaigrette. The salad was refreshing and whetted my appetite for what was to follow...
...LASAGNA! We each ordered a tasting trio of lasagnas. My plate was elegantly lain with three neat squares of Poppa's Lasagna, Truffle Lasagna, and Lamb Lasagna. Poppa's is described as "like Nonna's...but with balls": a standard, simple noodles-sauce-cheese layered lasagna, but with slices of meatball between the layers as well. My Poppa's square was packed very tightly and formed an interesting striation when I cut into it. The Truffle Lasagna - which we each happened to order - was the closest thing to a foodgasm I've had in a long time. It pairs together three of the best things in the world: mushrooms (even though Alex refuses to believe this), truffle, and bechamel sauce. I merely dipped my fork into the bechamel sauce draped atop the square and tasted an abundance of earthy mushroom flavor exploding on my tongue. I don't know if a superlative adjective for this lasagna exists. Finally, but not to be overshadowed by the truffle lasagna, was the lamb pesto lasagna (in honor of Passover, I guess). The flavor of the lamb was incredible and fragrant, but mellowed by a creamy sauce. The pesto was minty and fresh. Poppa's was very simple and straightforward, but I could see myself gorging myself on the truffle and lamb lasagnas in the future.
My mouth is actually literally yearning for more as I write this.