When you eat at a steakhouse nowadays you look instinctively for information on how long the beef was aged. At Ramerino Italian Prime, part of whose name (the “prime” part) suggests that the house is serious about steak, the proprietors are equally fussy about their Parmigiano-Reggiano. Wherever it appears on the menu, the cheese is accompanied by aging information.
They use the 36-month-aged variant in the polpettine, homemade veal meatballs in tomato sauce. But before you even get to ordering appetizers, the house provides you with gratis crumbles of the 34-month-aged cheese and paper-thin slices of Tuscan soppressata.
The majority of the pastas are homemade. That includes the tonnarelli featured in the cacio e pepe, which is sprinkled for good measure with grated 24-month-aged Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Ramerino is the word for rosemary in the Tuscan dialect of Italian, so you can expect to see that herb pop up frequently. It is used, for example, to add a woodsy element to the dry-aged 36-ounce T-bone bistecea alla Fiorentina served to two.
Desserts include a hot brownie served under a scoop of vanilla gelato and a cannoli dusted with cinnamon.
The entranceway to the restaurant is framed, presumably at least until the weather changes, by a trellis of flowering vines — just like the ones you might find outside a villa in the Tuscan countryside.
A prix fixe lunch runs $38 a person. Ordered à la carte, first courses range from $15 to $30; pastas, $26 to $32; main dishes, $29 to $52; and desserts are $12.
Ramerino Italian Prime, 16 E. 39th Street, 646-880-7885, is Monday through Friday for lunch, and Monday through Saturday for dinner.