MAMO Restaurant is the epitome of New York City. It marries Italian contemporary cuisine with the best for French hospitality for a unique, cross-cultural experience that is as scrumptious as Instagram-worthy.
If you are in New York during the summer, it is very likely that you’ll end up traveling the world at lunchtime by taking advantage of the New York Restaurant Week. For a fixed price of $29, some of the best restaurants in the city offer a special menu composed of an entree, a main course, and a dessert to regale your taste buds despite the heat, the humidity, and the hoards of tourists.
For the summer edition of the New York Restaurant Week 2017, we were invited to discover MAMO Restaurant. Conceived as the New York outpost of MAMO Le Michelangelo, a 23-year- old staple on the French Riviera, this restaurant brings Italian hospitality and cuisine with Provençal charm to SoHo.
New York Restaurant Week 2017 at MAMO
MAMO’s Restaurant Week Menu was extremely varied. For $29, guests can choose from three entrees, three main courses, and three desserts that speak to very different tastes, unlike other Italian fare restaurants where everything is either a pizza or pasta variation.
To start off the meal, I decided to order the Garganelli with cherry tomatoes, shrimp, and mussels. This extremely satisfying dish was on its own a trip to the Mediterranean. The mix of the pasta cooked to perfection with the juices of the seafood was enough to bring me back to Europe, but the high-quality shrimp and mussels spoke about the market cuisine that I have always favored above anything else. Believe me: Only great chefs can make a handful of fresh market ingredients taste like the epitome of contemporary cuisine. Although it is not listed as the specialty of the restaurant, I would recommend you not to miss the Garganelli con pomodorini, gamberi e cozze if you want to opt for a full and true Mediterranean experience. It nearly brought tears to my eyes, and for a moment made me forget how far I am from my family in Spain.
Although this entree serving was generous enough to keep me until dinnertime, I could not pass the opportunity to taste the second course: Petto di pollo alla milanese (Milanese style chicken breast.) A staple in the Italian cuisine that has been adopted in many Spanish households, it was the most tender and juicy breaded chicken breast I have ever tasted. How a chef treats a humble ingredient such as chicken speaks volumes of the restaurant. Again, the key is to start with high-quality ingredients to have a wholesome, tasty meal without needing to resort to spices to bring up the flavor. MAMO didn’t let me down on this aspect.
Finally, I obviously went for their tiramisu for dessert. Although at that point I could have literally rolled down the street I was so full, there is no way I will ever say no to a great dessert. With a balanced punch of alcohol and coffee, this tiramisu was airy and very, very tasty. A perfect medal to a well-rounded and extremely flavorful meal.
A la Carte Findings
Although MAMO Restaurant was kind enough to invite us to taste anything we wanted from their menu, we decided to taste one Restaurant Week Menu and compare it to their regular a la carte dishes to have a better idea of what the restaurant offers.
To have an idea of their regular lunch menu offerings, we decided to taste their Trofie al pesto, a special type of pasta with the always popular pesto sauce. This scrumptious dish conquered my foodie heart. The trofie (which I had never tasted) married extremely well with the sauce, which unlike many other Italian restaurants was not heavy or oily. It had the exact olive oil to basil ratio, and the choice of cheese married very well the airy yet juicy feeling of the dish.
After a very satisfying first course, in which we were able to see that the portions in the Restaurant Week Menu were as generous as the regular a la carte items, we decided to go rogue for the second course. As good Spaniards, we like eating octopus from time to time, and MAMO’s Polpo Arrosto (roasted octopus) over mashed potatoes and Mediterranean sauce seemed the perfect choice. Once again, we were not let down. The octopus was cooked to perfection and married extremely well with the sauce and the mashed potatoes. A different twist to the Spanish way of cooking octopus, this was a very well-balanced dish with a punch of sea fare for us seafood lovers. The octopus was tender and well seasoned (which is complicated, as it’s a tricky ingredient to cook), and once again the taste appealed to our Mediterranean-trained palates with the unique twist that MAMO offers.
Final Thoughts: The MAMO Experience
MAMO is the perfect combination of Southern France fare with an Italian twist. Relying on high-quality ingredients cooked and seasoned to perfection, in my opinion it embodies the authenticity of the Mediterranean market cuisine with a contemporary hint.
Led by Mike Mammoliti, Riscala Agnese Design Group created a restaurant that speaks of the authentic cuisine that is found in the Southern France region. With high ceilings and flowing spaces, the two levels of MAMO include a casual lounge on the ground floor and a formal dining room upstairs. Carefully designed to be welcoming for the guests, they capture the Riviera’s “sense of home” with original family mementos and oversized movie posters, much in the Mediterranean tradition that I personally cherish.
Also, MAMO is not only a great restaurant with a well-rounded menu. It has an impressive list of unique cocktail and spirit confections. Although I didn’t taste any of them as I don’t drink alcohol (yep, you read right, I don’t), they have such interesting concoctions as a truffle cocktail (pictured below.)
When I visited MAMO, I really got the vibe of a traditional yet contemporary Mediterranean restaurant, where the history of the family is present by honoring long-tested recipes with modern interpretations. By including family mementos and carefully chosen market dishes, MAMO is indeed a Provençal outpost in the middle of the city that never sleeps, and that alone is priceless. If you ever want to have a hearty yet relaxed lunch, MAMO is the perfect place to take your mind to a place where the sea meets daily life.
MAMO is located at 323 West Broadway (between Canal and Grand Streets) in New York City.
For reservations, call 646-964- 4641 or visit www.mamonyc.com
For your Restaurant Week 2017 reservations, visit the NYC official website for MAMO here.
Disclosure level 1: The author received NO compensation to write this article. The author was invited to taste the summer menu of the restaurant for editorial consideration, with no expectations of coverage attached. This invitation didn’t influence the decision to feature the restaurant, nor the personal opinions expressed here about the brand. Links are provided for information only and are not part of an affiliate marketing program.