It’s not often that a restaurant not only lives up to glowing reviews, but even exceeds them. Il Buco Alimenteri e Vineria in New York’s NOHO area certainly did that when my husband and I and several friends dined there last week.
From the moment we walked into the casual, inviting space (which also houses an Italian grocery and wine store), we felt welcome. The wait staff was warm and helpful, and the noise level lively, but not so loud that we couldn’t hear clearly. It’s the carefully and beautifully prepared food of talented chef Justin Smillie, however, that will make you remember and want to return to this restaurant. The salumi, the crusty loaves of bread, the pastas, and the sorbetti and gelati are all homemade.
Our waitress explained that the portions were generous and guided us in choosing several
antipasti, primi, and secondi to share for our group of five. Among the highlights in a hit parade of dishes were crispy fried artichokes and an ethereally light slow-cooked egg custard with black trufflles and favas as starters. Agnolotti filled with a velvety smooth cow’s milk cheese and a garnish of crushed hazelnuts and pecorino was our favorite pasta. It was followed by whole salt-baked branzino (sea bass) cooked with thyme, sea salt, and charred lemons and by slow-cooked beef short ribs surrounded by Castelvetrano olives and walnuts. We ordered ice creams and sorbets in myriad flavors, including salted caramel, strawberry, dark chocolate, and Meyer lemon.
A sublime panna cotta drizzled with aged balsamic almost upstaged the former.
Starters range from $14 to $24, pastas $19 to $23, and mains $32 to $45, but the portions are large and easily sharable. Oh, and one other memorable note —as we walked out of the restaurant around 11, the staff had placed extra loaves of bread in brown paper bags, offering them to guests to enjoy at home the next day. I can’t wait to go back!
Il Buco Alimenteri e Vineria
53 Great Jones St. New York, New York
Print This Recipe