Picture this: you walk into a family restaurant with four of your closest buddies. The individual that greets you is immediately at attention, and politely says, “We’ve been waiting for you.” You follow him to a secluded upstairs table, as he gently picks up and removes the placard that says, “Reserved.” As you take a seat, he announces, “There will be a special menu for you all tonight.”
This scenario seems to be straight out of an episode of The Sopranos, and yet there I was, living it in real life. I had been invited to Da Nico Ristorante in downtown Manhattan, which possessed “Tony’s Table”, a special table used as a shrine to The Sopranos and surrounded by The Sopranos memorabilia. Here, in honor of the 25th anniversary of the show, we received a special menu that contained items named with references to the show, such as the Vesuvius Scrapiello or the Not For Tony. A cocktail menu with a similar naming system was provided as well. I felt like I had the power and luxury of a gangster, and for once could understand what it felt like to be in Tony’s shoes.
The waiter started us off with a bottle of wine and several appetizers, including a bruschetta pizza, a plate of cold cuts and cheeses, and a plate of hot antipasti that included samples of chicken or cheese finger food. Everyone was extremely attentive and constantly brought new and exciting things for us to try, and we loved every bite of it.
When it came time for the entrees, I know I had to get the Not For Tony, a Sopranos-spin on the classic Eggplant Parmesan. My friends ordered Carmela’s Baked Ziti and an Agent Harris Marsala, and like family, we shared it all.
After that terrific meal, the waiters brought over some desserts, which included a plate of fresh fruit and a plate of zeppole, an italian pastry covered in powdered sugar. We also each were given a shot of a green sweet liquor, which we cheersed and downed simultaneously. As I sat back, I reflected upon the parallels between where I was now and Tony’s restaurant frequents with his friends. Sure, I did not have a criminal empire, but I had friends that I treated like family, laughs, and good food, all of which Tony was very familiar with.
Visit Da Nico Ristorante to see Tony’s Table for yourself, and try some of the best food I have had in recent memory for yourself.