>> Arco Cafe | Eat the World NYC

04 December 2017

Arco Cafe


Many places in the city, especially in the southern reaches of Brooklyn, call themselves Sicilian. Waves of Sicilian immigrants came and settled in New York City about 100 years ago and were eventually stopped by racist and discriminatory government policy in the 1920's not unlike that which we are now seeing against Muslims, Haitians, and Central Americans today.

These Sicilian immigrants have had families who have had families, and many generations have grown up here. Some foods have stayed similar while some have evolved into Italian-American cuisine. Now for the first time that I know of, Italy's other large Mediterranean island is getting a look. Arco Cafe offers the foods and wines of Sardinia.

If you search for images of Sardinia, beautiful photographs of crystal clear aqua waters and rocky coastlines will fill your browser. The paintings that cover one brick wall here show scenes from the interior of the island though, rolling farmland and clouds that could be the Midwest. The cows in these paintings seem very happy.

The meal started with salumi e formaggi ($19.50, above), a selection of Sardinian cheeses served with four types of cured meats and olives and covered with pane carasau, the traditional flatbread of Sardinia. This thin but rigid flatbread is more like a cracker and is great for eating the meat and cheese. Conceived by shepherds, this bread has been eaten on the island for at least 3000 years!

Once the bread is removed, the plate looks kind of like the garbage barges that float down the East River taking away the city's unwanted scraps. This appetizer fared very differently, with not a single scrap remaining when the meal was over.

Arco Cafe offers some Sardinian wines that may have not been on your radar before. We had a $50 bottle of Cannonau, the name of Grenache grapes planted on the island. It paired lovely with everything we ate. We also sampled the Monica, which someone with sweeter tastes might prefer.

Squid is fished off the coasts of Sardinia and is one of their most eaten products, making the insalata di calamari ($14, below) a no-brainer. These large pieces are super fresh and needs no spices or sauce, the squid and arugula speak for themselves. If you want a bit more zing, ask for an extra side of the lemon dressing.

The famous pasta of Sardinia is malloreddus, grooved and folded pieces that are sometimes referred to as Sardinian gnocchi. This does not capture the uniqueness of this pasta though, as it has a feeling all its own in your mouth. Maloreddos alla Campidanese ($15.50, below) is al dente pieces with tomato and sweet sausage ragout.

Sardinians love their pork, often roasting suckling pigs for many uses. These sausages are unfortunately about as close as you can come to a Sardinian pig roast here in New York, but the dish is fantastic and so full of flavors. The grooves of this unique pasta grab good quantities of tomato sauce for each bite.

After-dinner digestif selections are of note here as a shelf full of amaro is available as well as mirto, a Sardinian liqueur made from the evergreen myrtle shrub. Salute!

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Arco Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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