Dell’Anima (brunch)

Uova FungiI posted earlier about the deliciousness that is Dell’Anima’s dinner.  But, Dell’Anima is also home to one of the best brunches I’ve had in the city, or anywhere for that matter.  I try to keep this blog limited to a discussion about food, because most people don’t want to hear about my take on the the fabulous Barolos offered at an inevitably Italian institution, but I would be remiss not to mention Dell’Anima’s bloody Mary.  I do not want to oversell, but I think that would be hard to do because I am a bloody Mary lover, and these are among the best I have ever hard (aside from my cousin’s husband’s, they deserve their own post).  Anyway, Dell’Anima’s bloody Mary is perfectly spicy, with little flicks of black pepper and just the right amount of horseradish.  These usually also have a “special” Bloody Mary, the current menu boasts a “Bloody Soul”, and they are always a good bet too.

Onto the food.  One of my favorite things about Italian restaurants is their bread, and as soon as you sit to brunch at Dell’Anima they serve up charred, crusty, warm bread with homemade ricotta, pinenuts and honey.  It is delicious and, in and of itself, makes a brunch visit worth it.  I love the way the ricotta seeps into the crevices of the bread and the pinenutes add, not a crunch, but that little bite of resistance.  They also have a selection of pastas on the brunch menu.  One of my best friends is always torn between their carbonara and his favorite egg dish, described below, but I always order my one true love, the Uova Fungi.

I was never a mushroom girl.  I associated mushrooms with those slimy chewy button things sprinkled on pizzas that always seemed raw and always took away my appetite.  I am happy to say that I have since grown, and recognize that there is a whole world of mushrooms to love.  Whether it’s cremini, porcini, truffle or hen-of-the-woods, if done right a mushroom can be earthy, woodsy and delicious — and Dell’Anima’s Uova Fungi does it oh so right.  I’ve discussed in many a post my love of egg yolk, and the Uova Fungi is poached eggs over a bed of cremini mushrooms and parmigiano/butter filled polenta.  The whole delicious bowl is covered with even more parmigiano and transports me right to heaven.  The dish my good friend mentioned above always goes for — if the carbonara does not win out — is the Uova in Purgatorio.  Purgatorio, if it’s not obvious, means Purgatory in  Italian, and I do not know if the dish is so named because the eggs are baked in an oven (and presumably Purgatory is a bit hot?) or for another reason all together.  In any case, this dish is delicious, mixing crisp pancetta, rosemary and shallots with a slightly spicy tomato sauce and covering it, again, with the parm.  It’s amazing, and something I would probably go for at least sometimes if it wasn’t for the unfortunate absence of my coveted yolk.

I’ve also tried the fritatta, which changes seasonally and is filled with whatever vegetables Dell’Anima is picking at the moment.  It is good, but fritattas always bore me a little and, when compared with the extravagant and much, much worse for you dishes described above, is there really a choice?

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