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Mia Dona

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Expect standing-room only at Mia Dona, given Donatella Arpaia’s East Side groupies, the impassioned fooderati fans of her chef-partner Michael Psilakis, and the nomads that invariably follow. If you’re not into grilled octopus in salty anchovy vinaigrette, or that foodie favorite, warm calf’s tongue with a poached egg, there’s always the fabulous baked paccheri (layered like lasagne), just $15 for a shareable portion on a menu smartly responding to the economic meltdown, and an option on the $25 lunch. Psilakis (of Anthos and Kefi) can’t resist tossing in one or two ingredients more than most dishes need. He sent out so many extras on our first visit, everything eventually seemed muddy. But two weeks later, it’s clear his crumbed, fried rabbit with vinegared chips is brilliant, as are whole-wheat bigoli noodles with peppery sausage and broccoli rabe, or his signature gnudi, luscious sheep’s-milk ricotta dumplings in truffle butter with crisp speck and fried sage. Alas, chitarra-loomed spaghetti is lost in too much sauce under a mountain of baby clams. Still, my guy and I would be happy sharing the fine mixed grill. And a $13 spiedini appetizer—quail, merguez sausage, sweetbreads, pork involtini, and a lamb meatball—could be dinner for me. The chef is getting equal yeahs and nays for his pickled French fries served with a remarkable tarama aïoli. Thumbs down at our table. After these taste-bud aerobics, fiercely tart lemon sorbet is almost essential.

Mia Dona (View Menu)
206 E. 58th St., nr. Third Ave.; 212-750-8170


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