Home Cooking from the Italian Islands of Sicily and Sardinia – Review of Acqua

BY CLAIRE McCURDY

ACQUA
718 Amsterdam Avenue @95th Street
Upper West Side
212-222-2752 /acquanyc.com

The interior at Acqua

Image courtesy of acquanyc.com

An exterior of cerulean blue,  very appealing on an otherwise somewhat dreary block, “sails” hanging in swags from the ceilings, so that you are meant to feel you’re on a ship under full sail; undulating  walls at the entryway with teak and brass portholes; mellow sconce lights; wooden ceiling fan and walls of a warm cinnabar—it’s clear from the outset that Acqua ‘s décor is meant to evoke the sea and the Italian islands of Sicily and Sardinia.  It is very attractive and calming, setting the diner at rest.  As they say themselves, it’s a comfortable neighborhood setting. [Read more...]

An Italian classic – Review of Filli Ponte restaurant

An Italian classic – Review of Filli Ponte restaurant

BY CAROLYN ONOFREY

Filli Ponte
39 Desbrosses Street
Tribeca

212-226-4621/filliponte.com

Carpaccio at Filli Ponte

Carpaccio at Filli Ponte

On an otherwise forgotten but often passed corner of the West Side Highway, stood Filli Ponte.  When I walked up on one very chilly Saturday night, I was surprised by its quaint facade and very out of the way location just a few blocks south of the Holland Tunnel.  Walking into Filli Ponte, I was engulfed by the smell of seafood and old money.  We were escorted upstairs to the dinning room and greeted by an open space with large windows overlooking the Hudson River and the Jersey City skyline.  The large space gave off a homey feel with an exposed beam ceiling and chairs upholstered in what looked like grandma’s couch. [Read more...]

Gottino

A secret garden within a secret garden –  A Review of  Gottino

BY ELENA MANCINI

52 Greenwich Ave.,
West Village
212-633-2590 –
http://www.ilovegottino.com/

Inconspicuously housed behind a charming storefront of an otherwise bustling  West Village artery,  Gottino offers a garden of delectable pleasures– both literally and figuratively. In the warmer months it’s possible to savor inventively-combined gourmet delights and discover a list of select, non-generic Italian wines in the sweet, ivy-laced garden of this adorably ambitious “gastroteca,” as chef/owner Jody Williams insists on calling her debut gem.

N'duja

N'duja

The menu features seasonal small plates, salumi and artisinal cheeses representing all regions of Italy. It’s the perfect place to satisfy the urge for a “spuntino,” a small bite in between meals.
[Read more...]

Noodle Pudding

38 Henry St., Brooklyn Heights/Dumbo
718-625-3737

To anyone with a modicum of pasta-cooking knowhow, the thought of eating pasta at a restaurant by this name will no doubt seem repellent, that is until they get to know the place. I was hoping to find some clues to explain its baffling name amongst Noodle Pudding’s menu items or within the space itself, but my quest turned up empty.  Located on the border of Brooklyn Heights and Dumbo, it is a convenient walk from Dumbo’s premiere venue for avant-garde performaces, St. Ann’s Warehouse. Theater or no theater, Noodle Pudding is highly worth recommending.

 

 

Puntarelle (Italian chicory) with anchovy dressing

Puntarelle (Italian chicory) with anchovy dressing

A group of friends and I recently tried it after seeing the Wooster Group’s fabulously wild take on the epic love story of Dido and Aeneas, La Didone at St. Ann’s. I found the opera highly amusing and had to submit to a few outbursts of laughter especially during the boar hunt scene. I’m quite confident that those who have seen the opera will have no trouble recalling the scene.

 

[Read more...]

Ecco

124 Chambers St. (Church St.) Tribeca
212-227-7074

Holiday Spirits Bright at Ecco

Holiday Spirits Shine Bright at Ecco

Walk into Ecco’s for the first time and you will immediately feel whisked away to a gilded New York where taste was not an assumed posture but a given. The elegance of its antique mahogany furniture, regal turn-of-the-century bar and intimate church pew booths will buoy your spirits and allow you to escape the mundane and the current mass portfolio panic. Serving traditional Italian fare, Ecco’s large space and diverse seating arrangements make it a great choice for a cozy tête-à-tête or a group event. [Read more...]

Piola

East 12th Street, corner of Broadway, Greenwich Village
212-777-7781

Piola is a blithe reminder that you needn’t adjust quality standards, nor call in the “portion-police” in order to heed these cost-conscious times.

Pizza Antica

Pizza Antica

Located within a four block radius of NYU and Union Square, this delightful Italian pizza chain offers simple culinary pleasures, cheerful decor, friendly service and low prices.  These factors combined make it a great gastronomic restoration site for sleep-deprived students, pooped out Holiday Market shoppers and friends who want to catch up over a satisfying, stress-free meal. [Read more...]

Giano

East 7th Street between 1st Avenue and Avenue A

Giano's Sexy Interior

Giano

Giano presents an accomplished melding of style with culinary substance at utterly affordable prices. O.K. I’ll fess up because there’s no use in attempting to restrain myself, I’m in love with this fabulous East Village newcomer. It’s been two weeks since my first visit, but I find myself still rhapsodizing about the outstanding, inspired dishes, the casual, confident warmth of the place and the sheer all-around “expert-hand” feel of this restaurant.

There’s nothing tentative about Giano. It’s excellent and it knows it. The fact that you don’t feel as though it’s trying to impress you is a [Read more...]

Tarallucci e Vino

Flat Iron District, 18th St. btwn. 5th and Broadway or East Village, 1st Avenue, corner of E. 10th St.

In these tight times, Tarallucci e Vino has locked down a winning formula with its assaggi, otherwise known as small tastes. But this place is about more than just smart sizing and packaging. How do I know this? 1. I’m a regular. 2. Tarallucci e Vino is on the radar of virtually every Flat Iron-Union Square- boho-yipster Italian touring downtown. A typical weekend afternoon scene is thirty-and- forty-something Italian couples sitting outside discussing whether to order the panini or a salad while leafing through La Repubblica or reviewing the Euro-over-dollar deals they grabbed at the nearby Diesel . [Read more...]

Novita'

102 East 22nd Street, between Lexington and Park Avenue South

Championing a masterful approach to the culinary refinment of contemporary Piedmontese cuisine in a setting of understated elegance that is achieved through ecru walls and soft lighting, Novita’ is among Gramercy Park’s top destinations for a romantic evening or a relaxed business meeting.  [Read more...]

Novita’

102 East 22nd Street, between Lexington and Park Avenue South

Championing a masterful approach to the culinary refinment of contemporary Piedmontese cuisine in a setting of understated elegance that is achieved through ecru walls and soft lighting, Novita’ is among Gramercy Park’s top destinations for a romantic evening or a relaxed business meeting.  [Read more...]