When it comes to trendy foods, presentation and Instagrammability tend to play a big role in drawing crowds. But how does your opinion change when you don’t have an Instagram or possibly don't even know what Instagram is?
We brought four Italian grandmas to the Time Out office to try New York’s trendiest Italian dishes. And when it comes to their self-created Italian Test, these native New York nonnas are not messing around. Lets just say, they were not as impressed as many Instagram influencers seem to be with New York’s more innovative Italian creations.
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Each grandma is from New York and belongs to a lunch group called the Pasta Girls, who eat pasta together weekly. They have also all been cooking Italian meals since childhood and love feeding their families Italian feasts. So in our book, these women are Italian cuisine experts.
We had them try Pop Pasta’s spaghetti donut (made famous at Smorgasburg last year), which every grandma thought was pasty and, quite honestly, offensive. Next on the menu was The Sosta’s critically-acclaimed brunch special: spaghetti pie. Gloria, 88, said she’s “had better” in Syracuse.
Then there was Max Brenner’s chocolate pizza, which the grandmas all agreed was not real New York pizza but overall enjoyed it. And finally, there was a vegan fettuccine alfredo from John's of 12th Street, which was surprisingly a crowd pleaser.
Forget Michelin stars; if you really want an honest review of your next Italian meal, you should most definitely ask a grandma.
Watch their full reactions in the video above.
Want to eat authentic Italian food?
Yaso Tangbao Midtown
For soup dumplings, bao and other authentic Shanghainese dishes, look no further than Yaso Tangbao in Midtown. Start with slurpable, steaming hot soup dumplings filled with spicy pork, blue crab and pork or chicken and activated charcoal. The latter gives the dumpling a surprising dark gray tone that makes it all the more intriguing to eat. The restaurant also offers shareable plates like chicken shao mai, sweet and sour pork ribs and steamed bao stuffed with curry chicken, vegetables or pork. For your entree, choose between curry chicken noodle soup, braised pork meatballs over rice with a fried egg and soy-garlic noodles with cilantro.
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