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These words “ You Better Believe It” rang out among the crowd of happy diners last Friday
night when the New York Optimist was invited to dinner with the owner of Ancora ristorante
Yes that’s his name and guess what he lives up to it.
The guy is Fantastico!! Ancora is one of those hidden gems nestled in the heart of the
financial district on 11 Stone street just steps away from the famous Wall street where the
world bets their pretty penny’s on the global markets.
|Owners Tony Fantastico & Elio Albanese
I stopped in briefly before I brought my guests back for dinner at 9:00.
Meeting with the beautiful bartender I mentioned I was there to meet with Tony Fantastico,
she said he was expecting me and then poured me an ice cold Peroni as I waited. Looking
around I could see the crowd slowly coming in. Tony came out with a huge smile on his face
and looking sharp in a nicely fitted tuxedo.
I told him I was here to have a look around before I returned later with my guests.
Before I knew it there was a plate of soppressatta and aged provolone in front of me.
I had a few bites and said I will be back; I had an art show to attend at the old JP Morgan building on
the corner of Wall and Broad where I would be meeting my other guests.
After viewing what would turn out to be a very dark group showing of art we looked forward to dinner
at Ancora. We arrived right on time to find Tony waiting for us at the door. He led us downstairs where
the dining room was now buzzing with activity.
The lights were low adding a nice calming feeling to the room set up mainly with family sized tables.
Tony asked if we wanted to have a look at the menus but added that Ancora was known for it’s nightly
off the cuff specials which were arranged daily by Tony and his partner Elio Albanese. Of course I
asked if we should put the selection in his hands and in an Italian accent he replied You better Believe
He then brought out an assortment of dishes that had each of us oooooing and ahhing at
every new selection. The list was extensive starting with marinated grilled calamari
served over mixed green salad with oil and lemon then Blue Point Oysters with
gorgonzola cheese and champagne, Scallops fra diablo with garlic wine fresh tomatoes
basil, fresh figs with proscitto di parma and a boratta cheese, by the way this cheese
was so fresh and delicious it literally melted in your mouth. Hawaiian prawns grilled and
marinated capers garlic and wine sauce.
Carpaccio di Manzo air-dried filet mignon thinly sliced over arrugula and Parmigiano
reggiano cheese. Wait there’s more much more – the main soup of the many different
kinds served is a lobster bisque which they are well known for. Risotto Italian rice made
with Gorgonzola cheese topped
with fresh pears for the perfect combination of salty and sweet.
Veal chops grilled over arrugula salad and the foods just kept coming every dish served with
the freshest ingredients and tastier then the last.
After three bottles of a delicious red wine that we shared between the four of us our taste buds
were poppin and our heads were giddy and buzzing with the atmosphere this lovely italian style
family restaurant brings to its guests.
Tony mentioned not only was this place about the best of the best in food but that it was an
experience that its loyal clientele keep coming back for.
At one point the whole room seemed to be in synch and all at once everyone chanted at the
same time you better believe it !!!
We finished the meal with a selection of home made grappas in five different flavors and a
wonderful selection of deserts from chocolate cakes to yummy pastries.
Will I be back with friends to dine with Tony, Elio and his wonderful staff -
You Better Beleive It !!! ;-)