I hate midtown. Wvery time I happen to go there all I want to do is leave right now. I’m sure those of you who have spent any amount of time in the streets from 23rd to 60th understand what I’m saying. It sucks.
That being said, sometimes I have to visit the region. The reasons that will drag me there are few and far between. They look something like the following: a) family visits b) meeting friends near columbus circle (I went to high school around there) c) Tiffany d) food/coffee.
I know what you’re thinking, ‘um, Emilia? There really isn’t any good coffee or food around there.’ While I understand where you’re coming from, there are a few places that I believe defy midtown’s perception as a food desert. They include Sprinkles, Momofuku Milk Bar, Petrossian, Sarabeth’s and, now, Zibetto Espresso.
While I enjoyed Zibetto I must admit that it won’t be winning any coffee awards anytime soon. It was a hole in the wall that looked unfortunately past its prime with once-gleaming white countertops and walls quickly gaining a patina of coffee, sugar and Italian cured meats. What Zibetto did do well, however, is provide a snappy little Italian-styled place to get coffee in the hectic world of midtown. It’s another one of those places that you must know in order to be able to spot. Passing by without the knowledge? I don’t know how you’ll spot it.
I met up with my mother to head to Zibetto after going to the Italian consulate to present my visa materials. To say I was a ball of nerves before then is, unfortunately, an understatement of the grandest proportions. I was practically hyperventilating in the office and when the visa officer who looked like my host-sister from my EIL trip to Italy called me up, I practically fell down I was shaking so badly. A pleasant cappuccino was more than in order to calm my shaken nerves.
Zibetto was fine and, as I stated above, did a nice job of capturing a very Italian-style way of getting coffee. This isn’t a place where you can linger, there’s no reason that you would want to. The coffee offerings mirror what you might find in an Italian bar more than they pertain to the world of American cafes. There’s even a caffe marocchino for those who like a little chocolate sprinkled on top of there coffee.
I ordered a cappuccino with a baci di dama (a hazelnut sandwich cookie with a layer of chocolate ganache in the middle). The cookie was delightful and perfectly crumbly. The cappuccino? It tasted like Italy or that indefinable European coffee that you get at an airport or a train station only with well-steamed milk. I didn’t hate it, but love was far away. I found the experience more pleasant than the drink. I don’t think I’d go back, but I would recommend it to someone looking for coffee in midtown.
Is this the type of coffee experience awaiting me in Pavia? Well, looks like I’ll just have to wait and see.
Do you prefer American-style cafes or an Italian/french/other style?