Last night Laeh, Andrew and I went to Chatterbox 54, an Italian restaurant recently opened by Laeh’s friend Joe and his dad. (Side note: my AOL screen name used to be Chatterbox2949 lol.) We made plans to get there by 7 and naturally we didn’t show up until 7:30. The place was PACKED. Like 8:00am on the downtown 4 train packed. We found a spot at the bar and Laeh ordered 2 glasses of the wine she had been raving about all week. When I asked what kind of wine it was she said, “I don’t know. I just ask the bartender for the red Joe always recommends.” At first taste, I thought it was a cabernet. But it was a bit too smoothe and light to be a cabernet. It turned out to be a Montepulciano. Unfortunately I didn’t find out any more details about the wine, but if you’re ever at Chatterbox just ask for “the red Joe always recommends.”
We started with 2 appetizers: Margarita Pizza and Fried Calamari. The pizza was delicious. Thin crust with just the right amount of sauce, cheese, and toppings. You really can’t go wrong with a personal pie here. I was a little nervous to try the fried calamari since my expectations have been set so high by Modern in New Rochelle. It surprised me though. The calamari was thickly cut just the way I like it and the breading was so light and crispy. Modern’s calamari is still the gold standard for me, but Chatterbox’s was pretty damn delicious.
For entrees, I ordered the Rigatoni Melezagna – eggplant with carmalized onions, sauteed spinach in a modeira wine sauce topped with mozzarella. Amazing. Normally when I eat out, I eat half the entree and take the other half home for lunch the next day. I ate the entire thing. I was the first one done eating. The eggplant was melt in your mouth delicious and the sauce, onions, spinach, and cheese tied everything together so nicely. The pasta could have been just a tiny bit more cooked (not really a fan of al dente pasta), but that was my fault for not saying so when I ordered.
By this time my food baby was heading into its second trimester and I wasn’t going to order dessert. But then we heard the specials and I couldn’t resist. Zeppoles filled with cannoli filling and chocolate chips. Are you kidding me?! Next time, I am NOT sharing my dessert.
If you guys are in the area and in the mood for Italian, check out Chatterbox 54. You won’t be disappointed!