This restaurant has been a priority of mine since the beginning of the summer. It went straight to the top of my never ending list of restaurants to try and probably because it deserved it. I was hearing so much about Lilia and seeing pictures all over social media, so I knew I had to make the trip to Brooklyn to try it. I tried calling to make a reservation multiple times, but I was never able to get a table and skip the two hour wait. Finally, I knew if I wanted a meal here, I would have to call way in advance to get a reservation. I called a month before the day I planned to go and got a table for my family at 8:45 pm.
In the days, even weeks, leading up to the anticipated night of October 10th, I did research on what I was going to order. So, when our waiter was explaining the menu to us, I basically blocked him out because I knew exactly what we were getting already. The service was great and our server was very helpful and attentive, which always adds to a lovely dining experience.
Let me make it clear, before I get your mouth watering, that this is a pricy restaurant. It’s not the kind of place you hit for a casual meal. Rather, it’s the place you tell your parents to take you to. So, yes, it’s expensive, but completely worth it. The space is beautiful, even though the building used to be an auto-repair shop. It is sleek and modern, but has a warm feel to it.
When we ordered, it sounded like a lot of food, but the chef, Missy Robbins, designed the dishes to be smaller sizes to allow guests to try an abundance of courses. After all, the menu is a long one, and you’re going to want to order every single thing on it.
For appetizers we ordered the cacio e pepe frittelle which is fried balls of parmesan coated in more cheese and pepper: an indulgent and unique take on the traditional Italian pasta dish. Then, we went for the house-made mozzarella on toasted garlic bread, which was fresh and perfectly seasoned. Next, the whole artichoke topped with garlic, mint, parmesan, and breadcrumbs came out, along with the roasted trumpet mushrooms dressed in arugula, balsamic, and almonds. Two delightful dishes that made eating my vegetables a pleasure. All of the flavors were delightfully pungent.
Cacio e Pepe Fitelle and House Made Mozzarella
The courses were spaced out, and we were never waiting for more than 3 minutes for the next dish to surprise us. The following course was the pastas and the black bass. The fish was delightful: it was dressed in a citrusy sauce that paired perfectly with its crispy skin.
As for the pastas, they were all incredible and unique. First, we got the rigatoni diavola, which was a rigatoni in a mildly spicy tomato sauce. This was the simplest one, yet it was still so distinct in its flavors.
Second, we got the ricotta gnocchi with broccoli pesto. This was not the best pesto I’ve had, but the ricotta gnocchi were pillowy and delicious.
The third pasta was the mafaldini, and it was something special. The pasta was made up of long noodles with squiggly edges, and each piece was coated in sharp cheese and pink pepper corns, making the dish a variation on a cacio e pepe.
Finally, there were the sheep’s milk cheese-filled agnolotti. This pasta was amazing. It was sweet from the honey in the sauce, but also had a savory, salty kick from the dried tomatoes. The sheep’s milk cheese practically melted in my mouth.
I recommend trying every single pasta dish I got, and more. (Pro Tip: come to Lilia with a big group so you can order a lot).
Finally, we reached dessert, and as stuffed as we were, I knew we had to try the famed olive oil cake. The cake was perfectly crusty and is topped with whipped cream. A delicious way to end a such a special meal.
Make sure to call soon to get your reservation for next month!
567 Union Ave, New York, NY 11222
www.lilianewyork.com, (718) 576-3095