I recently went for a post-Mother’s Day lunch with my mom at Antico Noe at 220 East 53rd Street, right in the middle of the block between Second and Third Avenues. The atmosphere there is open, sunny and pleasant, with a friendly staff who promptly grills your panini after picking it out of a classic deli case. My mom and I split the #21 and the #23–actually just one sandwich can be shared by two people as they are about 10 inches long, but both looked so good that we had to sample them. The Antico Noe story really goes back to Florence and the owners wanted to recreate the exact “store” for New Yorkers. They have their own custom baked light bread for their sandwiches so they can let the fillings do the talking–although the bread is quite exquisite and looks gorgeous with all those grill marks on it. Sandwiches are a bargain at $9.50 to $13.00.
The #21 turned out to be the Prosciutto di Parma panini of my dreams and it includes fresh mozz, tomatoes, EVOO and Antico Noe’s fresh pesto sauce. The #23 brought my spicy salami fantasies to life with sun-dried tomatoes, brie and the pesto sauce calling my name, LOL!
You can also get some large lovely superfresh salads for about $10 each. They feature wild greens and arugula but the one I had with marinated eggplant reaches the stratosphere taste wise. It features a simple lemon and olive oil viniagrette and the star of the show is the crisp freshness of the greens and the soft texture of the marinated eggplant and delicate, tasty mushrooms thrown in for added texture and flavor.
Simple fresh sides like skewers of buffalo mozzarella balls and fresh basil are available and even the drinks are what you would get at a real panini shop in Florence.
The front of the Antico Noe is totally open so do yourself a big favor–grab yourself a fresh panini and sit in the front. It is the greatest people watching experience in New York this side of Central Park.
For more info on Antico Noe (which has just been open two months at the time of this writing, go to http://www.anticonoe.com. Their phone number is 212-750-0802 and the good news is that they deliver!
The original Antico Noe in Florence is over 70 years old, and it is incredible how the new one on East 53rd captures that ambiance! They have been getting five-star ratings on Yelp!, and that is really saying a mouthful right there!