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Adagio Teas
   Features  >  Dining and Travel

at 315 West 48th Street, New York

By Edith Hall Friedheim

  Luxia Restaurant

Setting first: a cozy brownstone floor-through whose French doors open onto an enchanting garden dominated by what must be the only Granny Smith apple tree in all of New York City.  There's also front patio dining at slate tables with slat-backed wooden chairs, very rustic, altogether charming. 

Put simply, Luxia (pronounced loo-sha and maed for the original owner's grandmother) is a theater district gem; a touch of Greenwich Village in midtown Manhattan; a tiny restaurant with a big agenda. 

For all its classic Mediterranean charm, Luxia is in the avant garde of a new "sustainable" cuisine that respects the environment by using only ingredients friendly to the environment.  These include free-range poultry and meats, fresh seasonal produce, organic grains and dairy products, and seafood from protected species caught or harvested in ways that are not ecologically harmful. 

Even the wine is organic, not to mention the pepper-infused vodka favored by John Lithgow and Mattew Broderick, among other show-business types.

 Whence this commitment to sustainable cuisine?  Owner Dominic Gallazzo explains: "I come from a restaurant background.  My mother was a chef.  Growing up in Italy in the late 1950's, we didn't have easy access to refrigeration.  The season's abundant yields had to be naturally preserved for consumption.  I've applied the same principals to Luxia. Whatever you eat here is naturally grown or raised and prepared in ways that maximize the seasonal aspects of Mediterranean-based cuisine."

To interpret his culinary philosophy, Gallazzo recently hired Michael Ventura, an immensely gifted chef whose prixe-fixe dinner menu is one of the tastiest in town. 

 Appetizers we recommend include roasted asparagus sprinkled with hazelnut gremolata; grilled eggplant rounds to dip in a whip of potato, almonds and garlic called skordalia, and the more spicy Tunisian-style mussels in tomato, ginger and cilantro.

Among entrees, the vegetarian risotto is a standout, rich with shiitake mushrooms, butternut squash and white truffles.  Ditto grilled pork medallions with dried cherries, carmelized onions, and bourbon-whipped sweet potatoes.  Lemony pan-roasted salmon on a bed of Moroccan chermoula (similar to spinach) is fine too, but caution the kitchen against overcooking.  Desserts, all delicious, include seasonal fruit, tiramisu and flourless chocolate cake with orange-chocolate gelato.  Not on the prix fixe menu but well worth the detour is Chef Ventura's signature lavender-infused (yes, the flower!) vreme brulee - a bravura finale to a most memorable meal. 

AMBIANCE: Open-hearted, hospitable, with attentive service.

SETTING:  Three restaurants in one; Lively bar up front quiet, 25-seat, earth toned dining room in the rear; spacious garden.

PRICES:  $29.00 buys a first-rate three-course pre-theater prix-fixe dinner. (Prices, hours and menu may vary so we suggest you call.)


RESERVATIONS:  Highly recommended. 

TELEPHONE: (212) 957-0800

HOURS:  Open every day for dinner, noon to midnight.  Brunch is available from noon to 3:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.  Lunch is served Wednesdays only until the garden opens, and daily thereafter. 




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