Though I’m late to the party on this one, I am pleased to report that the hype surrounding Missy Robbins’ (formerly of A Voce) buzzy Williamsburg restaurant, Lilia is as outstanding as everyone says. From the gorgeous, sun drenched space to the first rate service to the absolutely spectacular food, this was one of the best meals I’ve had in a long time, top to bottom.
For a birthday, a friend’s reunion dinner, for parents visiting from out of town, or for a date night that you’d like to be a bit more special than normal, Lilia is the perfect fit.
Here’s what we ate:
Cacio e Pepe Fritelle
Fried balls of heaven. Those are the only words I can use to describe this sneakily incredible appetizer. Generous heaps of black pepper and flaky parmesan coat these meatball-sized fritters, filled with stringy, stretchy mozzarella cheese. I was convinced at first bite that this might be my favorite dish of the night, which Is CRAZY since it was only the first dish.
Grilled Clams with Calabrian Chilis and Breadcrumbs
Smoky and spicy and bursting with flavor, I couldn’t get enough of these little mollusks. Not normally a clam person, these came highly recommended and proved their worth with every. Single. bite.
Long, thick ribbons of pasta resembling the construction paper chains you made in grammar school with a wildly shaped scissor, this dish was as fun to eat as it is to pronounce. Speckled with pink peppercorn dust and sumptuous amounts of Parmigiano Reggiano, this is the adult version of mac-n-cheese that transports you to childhood.
Ricotta Stuffed Agnolotti
My first bite of this dish produced an audible “mmmmmmm”. The saffron adds exoticism, and the honey a touch of sweetness that goes a step beyond the brown butter and sage sauce that often accompanies a cheese-filled pasta. Sun dried tomatoes round out the dish with a hint of acid, checking all of the boxes in the categories of taste. An absolute must order.
Grilled Leg of Lamb
The grand finale of this already decadent meal (read: at this point I sort of regretting ordering two pastas…sort of) followed suit with the rest of the meal. The flavors packed a real punch, and the portion size was just right for two hungry people sharing a meal. My only gripe with this lamb dish (and this is being extremely picky) was that the fat content was so voluminous that it required a lot of elbow grease to get at the meat. Don’t get me wrong, I loveeeeeee a piece of meat with some gristle, but I spent a good portion of the time wondering if I was eating pure fat or just a fatty piece of viable lamb. This was the only dish I would probably not order again.
The sign of a truly exemplary restaurant, I walked out of Lilia with only one thought on my mind: I can’t wait to go back.