Laurent Tourendel, the owner is L’Amico, has his hands in a lot of restaurants in many cities. The French born chef owns steak houses, burger places, and brasseries in NYC, Las Vegas, Miami, and Hong Kong. He opened his first Italian restaurant in the Eventi Hotel in September 2015. In doing so he gave me the first reason to ever eat food anywhere near Penn Station.
L’Amico sits inside the Eventi Hotel just south of tourist mecca Harold Square. The hotel houses Lupulo, The Vine, and L’amico as well as a large coffee bar. You enter to the right of the lobby to find a dining room that is vast and beautiful. The space is lined with floor to ceiling windows filling it with natural light. There is a massive wood burning oven lining the back wall. The high planked ceilings, black & white tiled floors, and chic polished wood tables make the space feel very New York-esque.
The restaurant is opened for brunch, lunch, and dinner. They have the kind of menu that just makes you happy (unless you have no soul). There are wood fired pizzas, homemade pastas, tons of vegetables, and seafood options galore. The antipasti is priced fairly and a good size to split. The burrata is heavenly with a mint-basil pesto, and their veal & pork meatballs are the perfect texture.
The pastas are so good they will make you want to stab your dining companion in the hand with a fork for trying to share them with you. The agnolotti were nicely chewy and swimming in a moat of sweet crab and lobster. The Neapolitan style pizzas have a char from the wood burning oven and come topped with varied accompaniments although the vongole with clams was my favorite. Garlic & olive oil & clams, oh my. Here’s what we had:
PEEKYTOE CRAB CROSTINI, smashed peas, avocado
BURRATA, green tomato gazpacho, mint-basil pesto, rye croutons
GRILLED OCTOPUS, cannellini bean salad, lemon confit
AGNOLOTTI, scallops, lobster, shrimp, lemon-mascarpone
WOOD OVEN BAKED EGGS, spicy soppressatta, tomato & eggplant caponata