Don't be fooled by the name, Paprika, located in the East Village, stems from Valtellina, a region in Northern Italy bordering Switzerland where the food is more Alpine and Austro-Hungarian empire than sun-drenched Italian. Chef and owner Egidio Donagrandi has been serving up non-regional Italian food for over ten years at his resto, but has now decided to shift his focus to his home and its unique cuisine.
The new menu focuses on the flavors and traditions of Valtellina, which is heavily influenced by neighbors Switzerland and Austria. Unique regional specialties and ingredients include buckwheat polenta, cheeses like bitto, crescenza, and casera --all of which are rare in New York. Another preparation Paprika uses is pickling, which is a technique used in Valtellina. Egidio pickles everything from red onions, beets and radishes to oyster mushrooms. Included on the menu are delicious appetizers like Dandelion Salad with pickled red radishes, soft crescenza, and spring onions and Bresaola Carpaccio with pickled oyster mushrooms and red radishes. Delicious pastas include Pizzoccheri Valtellinesi with buckwheat tagliatelle, savoy cabbage, casera cheese, potatoes and garlic, unbelievable Homemade Spaetzle with brussels sprouts and fava beans, and Buckwheat Lasagna with braised leeks and casera cheese fonduta.
But those who have grown to love Egidio's old dishes need not worry. Some signature staples remain on the menu, including the scrumptus Creamy Lobster Maccheroni and cheese. Other entree dishes remaining include non-pasta items such as Lamb Meatballs with brussels sprouts, red bliss potatoes, and E.V.0.0., and Grilled Shell Steak with potatoes, juniper berries, red wine and cipolotti onions.
The wine list at Paprika celebrates northern Italy, with about two-thirds of the list devoted to wines from Piedmont, Alto Adige, Friuli, Veneto and Lombardy, and a special focus on Valtellina, all of which perfectly complement the dishes.