We at PG love food, most food, especially good food. There are so many restaurants in NYC, and so often that irrational mind block - where shall we go - too often back to the same old place.
And so, every Monday, we will give at least one good idea of somewhere worth trying. This week - Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria. A little overshadowed by its mothership restaurant Il Buco, one block away, the Alimentari e Vineria does have its own quite distinct identity. The italian grocery / deli / restaurant has been around for about a year, but a recent experience was just so good it made it into The Journal.
As said so aptly by Pete Wells for The New York Times - 'IS it crazy to fall for a restaurant because of a handful of chickpeas??'
We actually fell in love with the salumi board (the meats are cured and aged in the basement) - the prosciutto, salami and cured hams melt on the tongue. The cheeses are also each varied, delicious and perfect.
We waited for our table for no longer than ten minutes, and were swiftly presented with little tumblers of white wine on the house. Our waitress was attentive throughout, suggesting good wines for each course.
Favorite dishes had to be the Bucatini Cacio e Pepe (so creamy and delicious, the smell of melted cheese and pepper floated over from the next table), Roasted Gnocchi (light and fluffy with foraged mushrooms) and Spit-Roasted Short Ribs, tender and perfectly peppery. The Grilled sausage was also surprisingly popular, and Crispy Polenta Parmigiano..
Prior to Il Buco, Justin Smillie spent time at Jean Georges, Mercer Kitchen and Gramercy Tavern, before landing with Jonathan Waxman at Washington Park, and later as the chef of Barbuto. 'It was during his 6 years under the attentive eye of Waxman that Justin fell in love with bold flavors, rustic technique, open fire, and farm to table cooking.'
A reservation needs to be made at least 5 days in advance to ensure you eat at a reasonable hour, but it's worth it. And you can book through Open Table, which always makes things even easier..
To follow this week - a chefs tip from Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria..