A bustling SOHO neighborhood is not lacking for dining choices...but the 'secret sauce' to a successful one ---we say the text book answer might the one year old MAMO ...on West Broadway...which manages to merge the sophisticated formal service of southern Italian hospitality with the relaxed elegance of a southern France establishment.
What diners get-a rare combination of incredible food, AND discreet - friendly professional service...that transports one to Provence mixed with the pleasantly buzzy vibe of NYC destination that has a mixed crowd-of locals, patrons from the across the street's Soho Grand Hotel, pairs of pals/couples catching up- and celebrating business types-all happily fed and cared for.
The charming Federalist townhouse locale is easy to get to-right off Canal Street...with the upstairs dining room-two large rooms anchored by a welcoming white marble bar-our 'hang' for the night. The atmosphere is both welcoming and hip-a rare BIG APPLE combination with a chic decor that transports one to the sexy Riviera-with a formal twist-meaning high ceilings, washed brick and white walls decorated with over sized vintage movie posters and the original B/W 1950s family photos of the French born owner's Calabria-Italy living Grandfather. A barely heard contemporary music playing in the background, lighting that doesn't intrude and is flattering- dimmed as the night went on, and crisp white linen covered tables surrounded by brown leather banquettes and plush white leather chairs spaced just far enough apart so as not to intrude on one's fellow diners...are all well thought out decor pluses.
Points on the atmosphere-actually- are maybe no surprise -as this NYC restaurant is an outpost of MAMO Le Michelangelo, a 23 year old 'it' dining staple on the French Riviera---and is a family affair in fact-with the hard working hands-on deck Mike “Mamo” Mammoliti (son of MAMO Le Michelangelo’s Herve Mammoliti) overseeing diners well-being- a deft balance of charming conversation, welcoming words for everyone-and even clearing a few plates as needed when the dining room was -not surprisingly full....even on a Tuesday night.
A complete well-edited French and Italian wine list that includes cuisine complimenting by the glass options -mostly priced around $14-$18 -was our first 'destination'-with two sparkling glasses of processco quickly conjured up to start. FYI-there is also a complete cocktail menu from which diners can enjoy specialty cocktails such as the MAMO Negroni, the MAMO Spritz and the one-of-a-kind Martini Al Tartufo (truffle martini)-and seasonal options too.
The food evolves into its delicious life-courtesy of-the Michelin-starred chef Massimo Sola (formerly of Eataly Roma, Ristorante Quattro Mori) as the executive chef...with a complete Italian leaning menu divided into several categories including several choices in each- appetizers (rice croquettes and fennel salad, eggplants alla parmigiana), salads (tomatoes, burrata, baby romaine -Italian dressing) crisp Mediterranean classic pizzas (Margherita), fresh pasta (ravioli with truffles), risotto (Milanese), side dishes...and several entreés that ranged from the traditional-enlived with lighter fare Provence sensibilities-meats and fish---to more informal offerings (MAMO Burger) that get adorned with luxury ingredients including indulgent truffles.
Mercifully, there is not a list of spoken only specials not on the menu-a modus operandi we wish more dining establishments practiced...with a fresh market fish the only recitation needed to start-besides dessert options ($9-$11) to end the meal.
|The foodie loved her generously sized salate octopus, potatoes, tomatoes, green salad and perfectly dressed --- Popole al Naturale with tender chunks of octopus chewy bread and crisp fresh and dried tomatoes atop greens. $22|
|A Mediterranean staple...grilled gilthead seabrim fish with vegetables is delightful-crispy flavorful and fresh...with mixed tomatoes salad-two generous pieces of fresh fish...moist and flaky-perfectly rendered. $36|
|Wild Salmon with creamy cauliflower purée (note to self-learn how to make this worthy mash-potato slayer) and crisp broccoli florets-salmon was super fresh-a generous piece lightly grilled-moist and flaky... $30|
The food is decidedly Euro-flavored-the portion sizes are def. American-meaning large.
|There were a few dessert choices-we opted to share a subtle lavender cheesecake-very light not traditional heavy version with crumbling cookie crust and with fresh strawberries...other choices included the Italian staple Tiramisu.|
Some patrons lingered over espresso...but we were so happily satiated-it was time to go home.
BONUS POINTS: Well paced-unhurried service...for all not just the recognizable faces (a famous model or two) -----but also for a multi-generation family- with grandparents and an adorable baby in tow, relishing a night out.
323 West Broadway
(between Grand and Canal Streets)
New York, NY 10013
Monday-Friday: lunch; dinner
Saturday & Sunday: brunch; dinner