Image courtesy Three of Cups.
It can always be a bit risky to walk quickly down the street in the freezing cold and duck into a random restaurant to escape. You have no idea if the food is going to be good. And really, once you’re seated, you’re stuck. Unless you’re those kind of people…
Three of Cups is a dark, old school, and slightly rustic Italian restaurant. To be honest, I had no idea what it was when we stepped in. But as we sat down and saw the menu, I suddenly got a deep desire to have really good Italian food.
We each started with a glass of wine. While Three of Cups is an Italian restaurant, I opted for an Argentinian Malbec, Los Cardos. My girlfriend chose the Chardonnay. Both wines were really quite tasty and it was after a couple sips that both of us were finally able to remove our layers—let me tell you, it was cold out there.
Out came the bread. And on a plate, I poured olive oil, sprinkled some salt and pepper, and topped it with a bit of parmesan cheese. Oh, the bread … it was heavenly. I will justify the amount I ate only by saying it was cold, it was close to the holidays, and damn it, it tasted good.
I ordered the Pollo Milanese alle Tre di Coppa. For you non-Italians out there, that really means “Chicken Cutlet of Three of Cups.” Without realizing it, I had ordered their signature dish. It’s a large chicken cutlet over arugula topped with chopped tomatoes, basil, and Gorgonzola cheese. It was probably one of the best cutlets I had ever had. Chicken cutlet is secretly one of my favorite meals and Three of Cups knocked it out of the park.
My girlfriend had the Pappardelle Bolognese. This is thick cut pasta in a veal, beef, and pork ragu. The pasta was slightly chewy, but that wasn’t all that bad because the sauce was really quite flavorful. But back to the bread: It tasted amazing dipped in the sauce. It was full of meat and tremendously savory. Having finished my meal, I opted to eat some of hers. It was totally worth being absolutely stuffed.
We finished with a cannoli and chocolate cake. The cannoli tasted like most other cannolis I have had, but the chocolate cake was really impressive. It’s a flourless, sweet, and rich cake. If you go with a second person, share the cake. It’s small, but it’s so tasty.
The real charm of the restaurant wasn’t the food but Frankie, our waiter. He was an encouraging-but-not-pushy waiter who always seemed to be there when we needed something. I’ve had great meals ruined by the waitstaff. Frankie simply made the meal that much better.
All in all, Three of Cups (83 1st Ave. b/t 5th and 6th Sts.) is really an enjoyable place to seek refuge from the cold. The food is wonderful, the ambiance is warming, and the wait staff is attentive. Enjoy your meal!