Etra - Melrose Hill

Went to Etra last night and had a FANTASTIC meal.

The chicories are savory and bright with just the right amount of bitter. The scampi was delicious. But most importantly, the RIGATONI GRICIA (with an onion soubise emulsiony sauce).

Didn’t have any mains but hear they’re very good too. Would love one of you guys to do a proper photo review. This place warrants one!


Some nice photos here:

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I would give this restaurant a passing grade. It reminds me of Marcella Hazan style—light and simple, real Italian at heart. Pasta on the slightly softer side of al dente but within acceptable bounds. Nicely cooked dourade. Good wine list. Enjoyable meal.


Went last night, really overrated. Usually I’m quite a fan of the California/Italian thing, but this was a big let down. Don’t have any photos but we had:

Chicories - these were good but it’s also a fancy caesar, hard to mess that up.

Langoustines “Scampi” - These were cooked well but one of them was not deveined (they were butterflied so the vein was very clearly sticking out), and they were covered in Nduja that really overwhelmed the flavor profile of the langoustine. Would have been better with just salt and lemon. I also thought it was funny that the lemon (or orange) slice they gave us was clearly one of the ones that they had been zesting with, as it had almost no rind. The nduja was so strong that even squeezing the acid over them provided almost no additional acid.

Pasta Alga Marina - This was their uni pasta and was seriously underwhelming. Came out cold (I think purposefully) in a very salty nori/sesame sauce. Tasted exactly like something from the cold food section of H-Mart with some uni on top. Also for $31, the portion was tiny, maybe 80-100g if I had to guess. The spaghetti also seemed to be like one of the fancier box spaghettis, don’t think it was made in house.

NY Strip - HUGE miss, the server didn’t ask us how we wanted it cooked so we assumed it would just be medium rare, but this came out medium-well/well-done. The steak had almost no pink and was quite chewy. The soy/sherry sauce was good but I mean, it was still overcooked…

Desserts - good, nothing special you can’t get anywhere else

Total with NO drinks came out to 100/pp after tax and tip - would not go back unfortunately.

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I would’ve sent the steak back! That is their bad.

Yeah maybe next time I should send it back. Always feel impolite especially since they didn’t ask - but usually when places don’t ask how you want the steak cooked I assume it’s cooked medium rare, i.e. at fine dining.

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Yeah, I didn’t get this place either. Everything was just OK — food OK, service OK, vibe OK. I especially don’t understand people being so high on the vibe. To me, the plywood just made the dining room feel unfinished, rather than cozy or romantic — like eating in a warehouse. You might as well just pay the extra and go to antico nuovo.

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For clarification — when I said I’d give this restaurant a passing grade, I meant a C. We also wouldn’t go back given the strength of the competition in the area. At the same time, I wouldn’t mind having another dinner there.

NONE of you got the rigatoni gricia?! The one dish that inspired my glowing review??

We got that (or the closest thing on the menu to it). We thought it was fine.

Have you been to the Funke restaurants?

The menu changed. About 3 weeks ago the rigatoni had ramps and peas. It was delicious.

This made me chuckle, I’ve had lots of fucked up salads. To the point, I often skip um.

When a kitchen can elevate a basic dish, you’ve got my interest. Etra’s chicories does that.