An Italian Birthday Dinner

One of my favorite evenings is going out for fine dining.  My husband surprised me the evening of my birthday by taking me to Il Gattopardo near MoMa.  This Italian eatery was chock-full of Italian folk, which was a good sign in my book.  We were seated in the back garden area with exposed brick, beautiful flowers, and dim lighting.  This romantic ambience added a fantastical touch to the special evening.  The service was impeccable and food outstanding.  I have to admit I was a bit nervous for the sweet menu, since Italian restaurants aren’t really known for amazing desserts.  To my surprise, there were thirteen to choose from!  I chose the warm chocolate souffle with vanilla gelato and Pastiera, a traditional Neopolitan cheesecake.  Both were good, but the souffle won the birthday prize.  The amount of chocolate that oozed out when I dug my fork in was heavenly.  The rich chocolate was so satisfying.  Add the freshly sliced strawberries and vanilla gelato and you’ve got a winning treat to finish my birthday.  The Pastiera was very traditional, with that almost dry pastry crust mixed with orange and cheesecake.  It’s definitely a lovely dessert to have with a coffee or espresso.  I’m always happy when there’s one more little sweet surprise, and they delivered some delicious biscotti on the house.  Great food.  Romantic atmosphere.  Authentic dessert.  Happy Birthday.

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