Anyone who loves Italian comfort food (so... everyone) is going to be very excited about MINA Test Kitchen's second pop-up. It's called Little Italy and pays respect to the dishes chef Adam Sobel grew up eating and cooking with his grandmother.
"It's like a time warp back to the good ol' days in New York when that first generation of Italian-Americans forged their own way and created a new style of cuisine," Sobel told Eater about the food at Little Italy.
The menu (below) will include all those throwback red sauce classics like Nana's stuffed peppers, baked clams oreganata and veal and eggplant parmesan. Tickets to the five course pop-up are $49 per person, which does not include gratuity or drinks.
This Little Italy concept is something Sobel's wanted to do since he joined the Mina Group five years ago. "This isn't rocket science," he said. "But it's easily everyone's favorite food. These are all dishes my grandmother made me that I've eaten my whole life. This is 100 percent a tribute to her." Sobel's maternal grandmother ("Nana") and her family migrated from Italy to New York and though they were spread out all over the place—Manhattan, Brooklyn, Long Island—they came together for family gatherings when his grandmother, who believed food was the staple of any good party, would cook for 20 people all by herself. "She had a little paring knife," Sobel recalled. "That was all she'd use."
Sobel was drawn to the kitchen at a very young age and said his grandmother taught him to make red sauce when he was five years old. "I don't know why, but I loved it. I liked to make meatballs on Sundays. I liked to stuff artichokes. And that was the routine until I was 12 or 13 and was ‘too cool' to stay at Grandma's house," he said. (Of course, his hiatus from the kitchen was short since he started cooking professionally at the age of 16.)
Tickets for Little Italy at the MINA Test Kitchen will be available for purchase beginning September 28, 2015. The pop-up will begin on Saturday, October 31 and run Wednesday through Saturday nights through at least the end of the year.