Chef Riccardo Ullio, Esquire dining critic engage in foamy throwdown at Fritti


Bragging rights were on the line last week at Fritti when Esquire magazine dining critic John Mariani and Sotto Sotto and Fritti chef/owner Riccardo Ullio got into a spirited debate over — wait for it — espresso cups.

According to our spies, Mariani (who, incidentally. does not engage in the cloak and dagger anonymity game that is still standard for many dining critics) passionately sided with Illy beans and cups, claiming the foam sticks and stands more firmly in the more open cup design.

Ullio on the other hand, proudly serves the Italian brewed beverage using  Lavazza beans and cups at both of his restaurants. After staffers scurried around the city to locate Illy beans and cups for the experiment, the two men brewed up samples of both.

According to espresso experts, the real test is when granulated sugar is added into the cup and either sinks to the bottom or slowly melts through the foam.

The winner?

The larger-sized Lavazza cup, where the sugar nestled up and took a brief nap with the foam before gently drifting toward the cup’s bottom.

Cracked Ullio: “I don’t use sugar in my espresso anyway.”

We’re told that Mariani and Ullio also bonded over Fritti’s famed quattro formaggi pizza and an arugula salad.