Category Archives: Italian

Arthur & Sons

On June 8th, the west village will have a brand new, old school style red sauce Italian joint: Arthur & Sons.

The concept comes from the guy who brought you Black Tap’s burgers and iconic shakes, Joe Isidori.

The small, bright and warm space feels like home. A seat at the window-side bar with a mezcal negroni was the right move to start the evening.

Don’t skip on the antipasto.

This and the bread with house flavored oil are the sirens tempting your appetite to a shipwreck of over-eating, though. Save room for what’s next!

Meatball parm sandwich.

Mozzarella en carozza.

FRIED GALAMAD!!!

Just like home at an Italian’s house, that’s only the beginning. Then comes the pasta: spicy rigatoni alla vodka.

Of course Benny Bowties is smiling.

Look at those tubes – no flop!

And holy shit – the chicken parm is a feast!!!

And to finish off the night, some cannoli.

This place is going to pop, so get ready! I can’t wait to try everything else.

ARTHUR & SONS
38 8th Avenue
New York, NY 10014

Il Corso

My wife and I came here with another couple to try out the amazing food that Il Corso is known for. This place definitely lived up to its reputation!

We started with some stuffed, fried olives, fried zucchini, and beef carpaccio. All of these were excellent, but I think if I had to choose a favorite, I’d go with the zucchini. Crazy! Next time I will try the Fritto Misto, which also has squid and shrimp.

My wife had the paccheri with pistachio cream sauce and crumbled sausage. Amazing! Easily a top five pasta dish for me.

I had the veal cutlet Milanese.

Added some nice fresh shaved parm on top:

It was perfect. Super crisp outside, tender and juicy inside. Ate every last bit of it!

And for dessert, Nutella pie, lemon bomb cake, and flan. All delicious, but I think the flan “took the cake.”

I can’t wait to go back here and the the lamb ragu pappardelle, and so many other dishes.

IL CORSO
54 W 55th S
New York, NY 10019

Nonna Dora

The famous pasta making grandma from I Trulli and Ristoro del Cinghiale is now out on her own with the namesake Nonna Dora’s!

This place is serving up lots of favorites from Ristoro and I Trulli, like the wild boar pappardelle and their famous negronis.

My wife and I started with some meats and cheeses, fried cuttlefish, octopus salad, and meatballs.

All of this was delicious, but our favorite was the octopus.

We dug into two pasta dishes. First, a really fresh spring greens special dish, which featured super thick citarra style spaghetti.

It has leeks, spring onions, fiddlehead ferns, asparagus, ramps, and fava beans.

Then, burnt wheat pasta with confit duck! So good.

Finished off the meal with a tart and some spumoni.

I can’t wait to come back here again for more pasta dishes.

NONNA DORA’S
606 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10016

Gemma

I finally got to try some of the food at Gemma in the Bowery Hotel. Started with a delicious orecchiette pasta with broccoli rabe pesto and sweet Italian sausage.

Next up: beautiful burger with broiled cheddar on top.

My favorite dish was the Cornish hen. So flavorful!

And a really nicely cooked center cut New York strip steak.

We finished off with some pistachio cream cannoli.

Really great meal!

GEMMA
335 Bowery
New York, NY 10003

Wildair

I popped into this joint with some friends mainly to try a domestic wagyu strip they recently put on the menu, but everything we had here was great. This place serves up smaller bites and tapas style dishes. Some of the highlights were the prawns, the potato cake with uni on top, the beef tartare and the stuffed chicken wings.

The star of the show was 24oz of 9/10 deliciousness. The “thrice cooked chips” that came with it were absolutely perfect.

The au poivre sauce really wasn’t needed, but both that and the roasted garlic really made the flavors pop.

For dessert, the mille feuille with cinnamon brown sugar cream was the big winner, but the mousse with granita and meringue was a nice way to cleanse the palate at the end of the meal.

WILDAIR
142 Orchard St
New York, NY 10002

Bacaro

I’m officially hooked on this place. A while back, my wife and I stopped in for a drink and an app – the fritto misto. We were already sort of full, but that pplate of mixed fried items like calamari, olives, lemon rinds, shrimp, and artichoke really made us want to go back.

Last night we finally did! We tried two more apps, meatballs and fried zucchini blossoms. Both were incredible. In fact, the meatballs are some of the best I’ve had outside of family.

The fried zucchini blossoms are stuffed with velvery smooth ricotta and served with an anchovy pesto oil. I liked swiping them in the meatball sauce though.

The pasta entrees are pretty large servings! Check out this massive bowl of gnocchi with peas and mushrooms.

The cavatelli with duck meat ragu was a massive serving too.

They had to be half a pound each. We couldn’t finish! I’ll definitely be back here to try more pastas, and perhaps one or two of the fish items from their entree menu.

BACARO
136 Division St
New York, NY 10002

Baker & Co.

My wife and I came here with another couple for a double date. We started with the pizzette that was on special, which involved squash, figs and balsamic:

Excellent. The fried calamari was great too, and, in fact, was mixed with fried shrimp and artichoke as well.

Speaking of artichokes, this fried artichoke salad was probably the low key winner of the starters.

For my main, I had the paccheri with lamb ragu and fava beans. Delicious!

My wife’s duck with black truffle and mushrooms entree was the winner, however. I wish I took a pic.

Dessert: Vanilla panna cotta. Perfection.

I would definitely go back here for another meal. They have a dry aged burger on the menu – maybe I’ll try that!

BAKER & CO.
259 Bleecker St
New York, NY 10014

Brooklyn Roots Italian

One of the great things to come out of the pandemic is Brooklyn Roots. Chef Thomas Perrone struck out on his own despite all of the fears and warnings. It started out as pick up and delivery only, but now he’s running a full-fledged old school Italian restaurant in the heart of Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

The atmosphere, the food, the smells… it’ll take you back. Nearly everything on the menu is under $30, and the portion sizes are triple what you see at other Italian joints. And this isn’t a typical red-sauce joint where you leave thinking that you could’ve made the food at home. This stuff is all done with top notch cooking technique, and high quality ingredients.

My wife and I went big, because we knew we wanted to try everything we could and bring a bunch of stuff home for the weekend. We started with the octopus and fried zucchini to start.

The zucchini was light, fried to a perfect golden crisp, and served with a bright marinara dipping sauce. The octopus was perfectly tender, and served in an amazing pesto. Definitely get these items when you go.

For the pasta dishes, we tried the “Matty Guns” special, who happens to be an actual person – he was there in the restaurant when we went. Baked rigatoni in a vodka sauce, topped with ricotta, melted mozzarella and basil. But lurking under the broiled cheese is a delicious collection of meats: sweet and hot Italian sausage, and meatballs. Amazing. Again – at $29 the portion size can feed two people for two days.

The next pasta was the linguine with corn and shrimp.

This was markedly lighter, but great for a summer pasta dish. Tons of great flavor coming in from the light tomato and garlic wine sauce.

For our entrees, we went with chicken and veal. For the chicken, we did the scarpariello preparation, with sausage, vinegar cherry peppers and potatoes. This took me back to when my mom used to make a similar dish with pork chops.

We did the veal parm. I was tempted to do milanese, but maybe next time.

This was such a great deal. Two cutlets fried to a perfect crisp and covered with sauce and cheese. Just awesome.

ENHANCE! Incredible.

We came with a huge appetite and still had no room for dessert – and we took home tons of leftovers. But from the looks of people around us, the dessert was great. I can’t wait to go back and try more.

BROOKLYN ROOTS ITALIAN
4601 4th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11220

Emilio’s Ballato

This old school Italian joint is known for having some great parms, whether it’s chicken, veal, eggplant or whatever. Of the three I tried, the veal with vodka sauce, peas and prosciutto took home the win and beat out both the standard chicken and veal varieties.

The meal began with an awesome platter of antipasto (probably the best I’ve had) meatballs, and baked clams oreganata.

We tried three different pasta dishes: cacio e pepe, carbonara, and linguine with clams. Of these, I will throw down with the carbonara every time.

The star of the mains, however, was not the veal parm, but, rather, a special double cut pork chop that was prepared with vinegar cherry peppers. Awesome, and cooked perfectly. The photo doesn’t do it justice.

This is definitely a place you’ll want to go to repeatedly to take advantage of both the great regular menu items as well as the daily specials.

Emilio’s Ballato
55 E. Houston St
New York, NY 10012

Sandro’s

Sandro’s is a small Italian joint on the upper east side that serves up some really delicious and authentic dishes.

For example, I haven’t had a fried artichoke this good since I was in Rome.

And seeing things like porchetta and culatello in the sliced meats department took me right back to Trastevere.

Back in my wheelhouse, however, was this delicious carpaccio dish that came with white truffles.

We went a little nuts with the truffle:

It was awesome. But even this salad had me excited.

The simplicity of something like chicory and anchovy dressed perfectly with citrus is not really seen to often here, stateside. This was a totally unique salad for me, and I’m glad I listened carefully to the massive list of specials before ordering. I’m not kidding when I tell you they could open a second restaurant with just the menu items that the waiters and waitresses memorized as specials. There were about three or four salad specials, five or six fish specials, three or four meats, four pasta dishes, and a bunch of appetizers too. Oh and dessert as well. Absolutely insane.

But back to the meal. Pasta time:

This first pasta was my favorite – goat cheese stuffed cappelletti with a lemon cream sauce. This was insanely delicious.

Next up was sea urchin ravioli with a scallop tomato sauce.

And finally some rigatoni with meatballs and sausage in a nice tomato ragu.

But we didn’t stop there, because I had to try some veal dishes. First up – and my favorite of the entrees – was this stuffed veal chop.

Inside was thin sliced ham.

After that, a nice classic veal parm.

And then some giant broiled prawns.

I really didn’t think we’d have room for dessert, but I’m glad we tried this delicious pistachio cake with ricotta. This was probably one of the best desserts I’ve ever had.

And the finishing move of bringing lemon cookies with the check really took me back to being a kid and eating these at my grandparents’ house.

This place is a gem! I’ll definitely be back here to try more stuff. There is a LOT of menu to work through here.

SANDRO’S
306 E 81st St
New York, NY 10028