Friday, February 8, 2013

Day 971 : Rana

Opened under the radar in the fall of 2012, located in Chelsea Market behind a corner near the 9th avenue entrance sits Rana. Giovanni Rana's first American restaurant outpost of his renowned fresh pasta outfit hailing from near Verona in Northern Italy. With a 50 year history, this company specializes in filled pastas and at Rana, one has the opportunity to dine in and enjoy their homemade pastas in the space or to take away some of their fresh pastas to enjoy in the comfort of your own home. 

Should you choose to dine in, one walks into a rustic and warm open room full of long wooden tables and chairs with "chandeliers" of old school copper pots and pans that those of us who love cooking would find totally crave-able.

Sure the menu was focused on pastas but there was also a selection of small shareable plates, salads, mains and contorni. So what did we have?

We started with their salad of spinach, raddichio, topinambur, Vacche Rosse Parmigiano, and walnuts. A simple ode to fresh, crisp greens with the refined rustic nuttiness of the cheese and the lovely crunch of the walnuts. We also started with their pane Carasau topped with burrata, ricotta, black olives, hazelnuts, thinly shredded slices of beets, and spinach. A very thin flatbread pizza teeming with this vegetable and cheese melange on top. The mixture of the decadent roundness of the burrata and the bright vegetal crispness of the beets and the spinach plus the crunch of the hazelnuts and the Mediterranean brine moment of the black olives was delightful. One could have been satisfied with just these shareable plates as they were larger than expected. 

And what of the rest of the meal, I split their cod with rice beans, fingerling potatoes and rosemary along with their side of swiss chard topped with Asiago cheese and their winter vegetable caponata. The fish itself was prepared excellently -- melting in your mouth with a nice rustic yet light finish. The winter vegetable caponata was flavorful and warming with an earthy cozy bent -- this felt like homecooking that's for sure. And really how can you go wrong with swiss chard sauteed with olive oil and topped with cheese? It's hard to! Of those I dined with who explored their pastas, each enjoyed the rustic homemade melt in your mouth quality of each morsel.

Overall a lovely meal was had by all. For those looking for fresh pastas to make at home, this is a great stop and for those looking for a non-pretentious simple yet delish resto in Chelsea / Meatpacking, Rana is a good choice.

75 Ninth Avenue

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