Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Gaia 05-19-2012

Location: 251 E. Houston St.
Time: 12:pm
People: RB, CK and myself

Feelings: Gaia, a quaint Italian cafe in Lower East Side, is a classic New York hidden gem. The high quality ingredients are liberally used for their delicious Italian home cooked meal, created by the owner herself. Every flavor is made with love and care, and you would be instantly transported to Italy after the first bite.

They certainly do not have the fastest service, but with large tables and sunny room, dining here would be quite a treat that gives you a moment of relaxation. Many people dining here or picking up food are regulars, and the owner greeted them with a smile and casual conversations. It is really like a scene from a film.

My spinach and ricotta gnocchi ($7) was light and flavorful. Is there such a thing as light gnocchi, you may wonder. Gaia's food is not heavy--it is simple and well executed just like how authentic Italian cuisine is. The flavors are so well balanced with umami that there is absolutely no need for over seasoning and overbearing amount of cheese.

RB thoroughly enjoyed his Montanaro panini, which was delicious and thoughtfully executed. The speck, taleggio cheese and pickled vegetables were the perfect insert for the delicious freshly baked panini bread. He felt the sandwich surpassed any Italian sandwich he could find in Soho or Little Italy.

If you don't have time for food, just stop by for their home made custard cream with strawberry and a touch of coffee ($3). This simple dessert is airy light, and the fresh flavor of strawberries shine through. I know that we will certainly go back for this delectable dessert again and again.

I hope Gaia will be able to maintain their reasonable prices while serving excellent comforting food. They certainly offer the best value in Manhattan!

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