When my friend Sinead and I arrived in New York, all we had booked was the flights and the first hotel. It was easily the most unplanned trip I’ve ever been on, but it was fun to try to travel like this (it was so last minute and we were so busy we didn’t have time to plan beforehand) and also strangely liberating.
Our first night in the city we had dinner quite late, without booking and just tried our luck at Emilio’s Ballato, an Italian restaurant food writer Diana Henry recommended in her New York special in The Telegraph.
The interior was charmingly dishevelled in a New York sort of way and we could tell the guests were enjoying themselves; drinking wine, sharing both stories and food. We shared a bottle of wine and dove straight into the starters as they arrived just a few minutes after the waiter had taken our order. Sinead had this huge portion of crispy, warm calamari and was almost too full for the next course.
My starter, baked clams with breadcrumbs, parsley, butter and a little garlic, was a lot smaller but just as nice.
We both chose pasta for the main course; Sinead had the excellent Pnne all’Arrabbiata…
…while I enjoyed spaghetti with a summery ‘raw’ tomato sauce. It was all really nice and well-cooked but not outstanding. But despite this, I really liked the place. It all comes together as one really nice experience; the food, the ambiance, the interior, the staff.
Emilio’s Ballato, 55 E Houston St, New York, NY 10012