WOW: Torrisi Italian Specialties NYC

I usually avoid trendy spots where you have to wait in line to get in. I have yet to try Motorino (voted the best pizza in NYC) because every time we walk by there is a line to get in, even at 11 p.m.

Same goes for Torrisi. Dinner is a fixed price per person, a 7 course meal, it's whatever they are serving that night, written on the chalkboard, no exceptions. The line starts outside at 5:45 pm.

On a recent off hour we decided to give Torrisi a try for lunch.

THIS PLACE IS INSANE (and that means GOOD).

They have only a few lunch items with some daily specials.
Their famous turkey sandwich
Their famous eggplant parmigiana
Their famous chicken parmigiana

On the counter is also an array of antipasti (comes in quarter pound sizes):

Broccoli rabe
Roasted Brussels sprouts
Roasted peppers
Caponata (Sicilian eggplant relish)
Roasted cauliflower w/ Progresso breadcrumbs
Fresh mozzarella
Beets & orange salad

So, we tried one of everything. (my eyes are often bigger than my stomach).

The turkey sandwich is the best turkey sandwich you will ever eat.

I have been hearing how Mario Batali eats one on his way to his restaurants as well as other well known downtown chefs, but how good can a turkey hero be?

On to the eggplant parm.
I have been dying to try this since they opened, because a GOOD eggplant parmigiana is my favorite food in the world. I have lost faith in it lately because I haven't had a good one in years, even my own version has been lackluster lately.

Eggplant has to be done just right, thin and crisp, never mushy, and no ricotta in the mix please.

This was the best eggplant dish I have ever had. Hands down. Winner.
It was so beautiful. Made with house made mozzarella and fresh basil leaves.

Top 10 things I have eaten in life (yes, I am serious).
2 could share it and it was only 10 bucks.

If you find yourself wandering around Little Italy, and don't mind standing in line sometimes, then try Torrisi Italian Specialties.

It is my new favorite place.

update on 3/6: one of my readers sent me the link to the eggplant parmigiana recipe from Torrisi pubished in Food & Wine. Thanks Lisa!
Click here for recipe.


The Food Hunter said…
Heading to NY in April. Adding this to my must try list.
It's been on my list for a while, but like you, haven't had the time to wait on line. Will attempt it again soon. Glad you enjoyed it!
Anonymous said…
W/Progresso breadcrumbs, perfecto! Which antipasto was the best? The turkey looks roasted to absolute perfection, the eggplant parm divine. My mom, w/o a drop of Italian blood in her, makes the best eggplant I ever ate. First, you gotta peel off the purple plastic-y skin. Then she salts the slices and drains off the bitter juice Making the 'cookies', as my mom calls them, is a labor of love, sliced super thin, carefully battered and fried and blotted on paper bags, it takes all morning. NEVER ricotta, excellent homemade marinara, and sometimes, as a very special treat, she mixes it up, and alternates the mozzarella with some slices of fontina. I see you used the off hour trick again, smart!
I love this place already, and the antipasto, yumm! I want to go there already!
Kathy said…
It's still morning here and my mouth is watering reading about the good food.......yummmm!
Joanne said…
Alrighty well now I know where I'll be going the next time I have some free time! And I'll be going eggplant parm with it. All the way.
How can I not go there after such a great endorsement? Did you two eat all of that food? I love eggplant parm too as well as everything else you mentioned. The turkey sandwich looks like it's mostly bread but if Mario eats one daily, it must be good.
Privatestock said…
WOW I'm going to have to go to this restaurant. But I'm like you, I CANNOT STAND WAITING IN LINE! Would take LUNCH over dinner any day! Thanks for the heads up. Would love to go tomorrow if the weather wasn't going to be so rainy!
Ciao Chow Linda said…
That eggplant parm does look insanely good. I'm going to have to put this place on my list.
Lisa Faley said…
Your photo and description of the eggplant parmigiana made my mouth water. Not just a little... I'm talkin Niagara Falls!
Total YUM!
And I concur... a good eggplant parmigiana is on my tops list also!
Wish I lived closer, I'd totally take you up on your recommendation to visit Torrissi.
Eileen said…
I need to get back to NYC!
Dana said…
First, I am almost crying with envy. To have wonderful places like that at your disposal... But I have to say, things are getting better here in the food department. Now, do these people know that a woman who knows and loves, really loves, her eggplant thought that dish was in her top 10? Someone should alert them!
Foodiewife said…
So, here I live on the West Coast Jewel of California. You'd think we'd have five star places, let alone something like this. We don't. Arrrrgh. (Are you listening, Carmel?) Lucky you. If I ever fly East, you're planning our culinary visit. I won't be disappointed, I know.
Claudia said…
Planning a trip to NYC soon... yet another stop on my "to-do" list. I wonder how many things I can try (eat!) in one week?
The JR said…
All that looks good!

That's the bad part of living in a small place, they don't have these kind of food places.
Carole said…
Oh, my, that eggplant parm looks delicious.
Anonymous said…
That turkey just looks so yum! New York just seems to have so much good food. Can't wait to come and visit!