I've had nearly the same dish in the evenings at Al Di La—a well-known signature of theirs, the braised rabbit. But at lunch, there's chicken in place of rabbit. I confess that while rabbit is far more exotic, chicken is, oddly enough, the one I find myself preferring.
The $15 affair will keep you full well until dinner, padding your stomach with warm and creamy spoonfuls of polenta. Braised chicken falls apart at the nudge of a fork, with well-browned, savory skin that melts on the tongue. Black olives are dotted with notes of rosemary and thyme. And it's best to put the bread basket to good use. Butter slices of a thin-crusted white loaf with the softened butter cube, and soak up all the gravy before the polenta beats you to it, it's one of the single best bites of the dish. (Make sure to get one of those tables with cushioned back seats. You'll want to lean back with an espresso after this.)
Al Di La's best dessert is the Ricotta Fritters, but they don't serve them during lunch. So pass on dessert, and head either down a block to Trois Pommes for the Chai-Apple Cider ($3.50), a pleasing half-and-half drink that's perfect for winter. Or walk in the other direction to Blue Sky Bakery, for a slice ($2.75) of a cozy strudel-speckled Blueberry Buttermilk Coffee Cake.
Al Di La Trattoria
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