Fagiolini “House of Lasagna” Lives Up to Its Name
Since I’ve been working in Midtown, I’ve walked by Fagiolini (Lex btw. 40th+39th) almost everyday on my way home, and always wondered if it was any good. Certainly, any restaurant that calls itself the “House of Lasagna” had better be able to back it up. Alas, I never stopped in, mostly because its prices are outside the ML limit. At least, they used to be, until I spotted a chalkboard sign advertising an $8.50 express lunch special.
One quick note before diving into the review: Fagiolini has a sister restaurant around the corner on 40th St., but the lunch special there will set you back $12.50, so if this review makes you hungry for pasta, make sure you go to the Lexington Ave. location.
On its lunch menu, Fagiolini offers three different lasagnas: Bolognese, Napoletana, and vegetable. The Bolognese, of course, is the classic lasagna with bolognese sauce, parmiggiano cheese, and bechamel sauce. The Napoletana has sliced sausage, meatballs, meat sauce, and both ricotta and mozzarella cheeses. Vegetable lasagna, of course, is just what it sounds like.
A number of non-lasagna dishes are included as well, including penne alla vodka and an arugula salad served with grilled chicken.
I was tempted to choose the Napoletana, which is closer to the lasagna my mother makes, but I went with the classic Bolognese instead, and was happy with my choice.
This is lasagna done right. The pasta was thin and tender enough to be cut easily with a fork but still had substance to it. The bolognese sauce was hearty and rich. The bechamel, while not adding much in terms of flavor, was well browned. Mozzarella wasn’t listed as an ingredient in the dish, but I suspect it was there, having seen some stretchy cheese when cutting through the lasagna. A dusting of parmiggiano offered table-side was also a welcome addition.
I wouldn’t say that you get a very large slice of lasagna, but I found it filling enough that I wasn’t hungry again until dinner. But it won’t leave you leaning back in your chair, struggling to loosen your belt, either. They do also serve bread with the meal, perfect for picking up the extra bolognese on the plate.
Some of my fellow diners tried the Lasagna Napoletana and had only praise for it. I’d expect the other pasta dishes on the menu would be good as well.
This is a lunch special well worth going for. $8.50 for well-made, fresh pasta is a steal in my book. Lasagna lovers working in Midtown will want to add Fagiolini to their list of must-eat restaurants.
Fagiolini, 334 Lexington Ave. (btw. 39th+40th St.), (212) 883-9555