The final three days of my New York City trip I stayed with one of my best childhood friends. She is one of my most loyal blog readers and she takes great pride in planning our dining out spots when I stay with her.
The first spot she picked for us was called Tommy Lasagna. She had gone the weekend before with her parents and loved it so much that she resolved to take me back.
Tommy Lasagna is located just outside of Union Square on 18th Street.
They have fantastic specials which are advertised on a sandwich board out front.
When you open the door to Tommy Lasagna, the first thing you notice is a wall of picked vegetables. I thought this was a very clever way to add color to the space, but still keep the decor food-focused.
You take a few steps down into the dining room which has a large bar area and then rows and rows of two top tables.
The bar boasts an excellent selection of wines, which are on display on the wall.
The dining room feels very warm and cozy. We were seated at a table against the wall, right in between the bar and the open kitchen.
Tommy Lasagna's signature dish is, you guessed it, lasagna! Though that's their focus, the menu has many other options including brunch.
My favorite part of the menu was the description of the difference between Nonna's Lasagna and Poppa's Lasagna.
I know, I'm 13 years old.
To start, our waitress brought us a few slices of crusty bread and a dish of bright green olive oil.
It didn't take us very long to make our menu decisions because we knew we wanted the lunch special - a half piece of lasagna, served with a side salad.
My friend selected the truffle lasagna, which you could smell the second it reached our table. She let me have one bite and the truffle flavor was so rich. There is no way I could have had more than three bites.
I went with the Green Market lasagna which features fresh produce right from the Union Square farmer's market! My piece was topped with a creamy bechamel sauce.
The side salads that came with our lasagna were not just a pile of lettuce with a tomato or two (as side salads so often are). These salads had delicious cubes of cheese, red onions and a very tasty dressing.
When we finished our lasagna our waitress asked, "Did you save room for milk and cookies?" We hadn't, but good to know that's on the dessert menu!
After our lasagna lunch I forced my hostess to come with me to Fishs Eddy, which is a housewares store I discovered back in 2006. There is no store in Boston that compares. I was walking through the displays lusting after so many items, but was afraid I couldn't carry them back on the train without breaking them. It turns out, Fishs Eddy ships! After we learned that fun fact, I went bananas and had a huge box shipped back home.
Post-home decor shopping we walked through Madison Square Park. Earlier in the week I had noticed a new sculpture in the park (since my last trip) and it was surrounded by these amazing curved benches. When you sat on them, it felt like sitting in a La-Z-Boy chair. Naturally we had to check it out.
We sat, reclining on the bench, for a half an hour catching up on life. It was a perfect New York moment.
If you find yourself in Union Square looking for a place to eat, skip the crowded spots like Max Brenner and Rosa Mexicano, and cut into a slice of authentic Italian lasagna with Tommy.