71 W. 71st Street
New York, NY 10023
THE SIGN OUTSIDE claimed "Everyone is in the garden!" Admittedly, Mint and I were skeptical, but with nothing else along Columbus Avenue catching our collective eye we figured, well, why not check?
While "everyone" might not have been in the garden, we could see why everyone would want to be sitting beneath the impressive branches of Bello Giardino's hanging grape vines, munching on pasta as fresh as the bunches of grapes falling from the trellises overhead. Seriously--one cluster of green grapes crashed into the empty table next to us. Our server ran over, gathered them up and stopped to share, laughing, "Last night, there was a couple sitting here. I told them, in Italy, falling grapes are good luck."
The pasta, priced reasonably for the Upper West Side, is as fresh as the freefalling produce. My black linguine with mussels, salmon, leeks and tomatoes ($14) was unbelievably delicious, the soft green leeks and tomatoes managing to upstage even the seafood. And dessert, orange sorbet served inside the frozen rind of the fruit that bore it into this world, was the best of all possible choices for a summer evening outside. In the garden. With everyone.
MIKE EATS NEXT TIME: He most certainly will.