On the 29th of every month, carb lovers unite to hail all-you-can-eat gnocchi (an Italian potato dumpling) at Piola in Midtown. For $14.95, you can partake in a gluttonous form of heaven where runners with silver tureens of steaming dumplings move around the trendy restaurant’s floor, delivering unlimited spoonfuls of plush, tender gnocchi in ten different sauces — ranging from a decadently creamy four-cheese to a bright, punchy tomato — to your plate.
According to Piola, this divinely starchy special was born from an Italian legend that dictates that a person should eat gnocchi every 29th day of the month to obtain luck and prosperity. We maintain you should eat gnocchi once a month to maintain optimal taste-bud satisfaction.
The gnocchi special is available all day; on a typical Gnocchi Day, the kitchen runs through approximately 150 pounds of the housemade dumplings. Reservations are highly recommended lest you be forced to wait an hour or more for your carb fix.
In the interest of pacing yourself throughout this monthly gnocchi marathon, here are the ten types of gnocchi you can look forward to sampling during Gnocchi Day:
- Tomato and basil (dairy-free): a simple, bright and flavorful tomato sauce — billed on the menu as Gnocchi Pompei, this is one of two flavors offered regularly.
- Tomato, basil and mozzarella: Small, stretchy dollops of mozzarella set this apart from the basic tomato sauce.
- Garlic and red pepper (dairy-free): Just when you thought the tomato and basil was good, this kicky tomato-based sauce will saunter along and you’ll never want to eat tomato sauce without garlic again.
- Four cheese: an intensely rich blend of mozzarella, Brie, Gorgonzola and Parmesan — the other staple offered regularly on the menu as Gnocchi Legnano.
- Pesto: This bright green sauce is often a crowd-pleaser with its simple basil and walnut base, enriched by Parmesan, garlic and olive oil.
- Broccoli and chicken: Smothered in cream sauce, the bright pockets of vegetable and protein add a welcome change to the endless march of dumplings.
- Prosciutto and rosemary: Hits of salty meat and aromatic herb marry perfectly in another cream-based sauce.
- Smoked salmon: This tomato and cream sauce features shreds of salmon, which some may find a bit fishy, while others may find it perfectly briny.
- Tomato meat sauce: One of the most popular dishes, this tomato-based sauce is studded with thick smatterings of crumbled, seasoned beef.
- Prosciutto cotto and mushroom: another cream-based sauce sprinkled with meaty bits of mushroom and delicate ribbons of ham.
We just have one question: What do they do when (as is usually the case) the month of February has only 28 days? Are we out of luck?