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Dinner at L'Artusi

From a booth at the Corner Bistro, I noticed a bustling café across the street, and asked Susan’s friend, Greg, if he knew what the name was. “That’s dell’ anima,” he said. “It’s the restaurant that former Babbo sommelier, Joe Campanale, started. It’s excellent. He’s actually opening up another place on 10th Street very soon.” I was intrigued and inspired by Joe Campanale, the young twenty-something who became one of the countries youngest sommeliers at 23 years old (not to mention the fact that he took the job at Babbo, which is one of NYC’s best known establishments). Mr. Campanale is now co-owner of the West Village’s dell’ anima and the newer L’Artusi restaurants.

After two rowdy cocktails at nearby Employee’s Only, some friends and I made our way to our 9:30pm reservation at L’Artusi. We were seated at a spacious round table located in the midst of the lively bar and open kitchen. The restaurant’s understated modern atmosphere evokes a warm charm.

As an entrée, I chose the spaghetti and meatballs, and for the table, a side of roasted Brussels sprouts. Arriving in a large bowl, the handmade pasta was laced with a robust marinara sauce, a generous serving of meatballs, and an ample dusting of shredded Parmesan cheese. Not since my last meal at Crispo have I had such an outstanding bowl of this childhood favorite. Only L’Artusi’s take on this comfort food classic far surpassed Crispo’s version. The noodles were perfectly cooked al dente, and the meatballs were firm (cooked all the way through as opposed to Crispo’s), yet magically tender. On a separate small plate, I served myself a large spoonful of Brussels sprouts. Precisely caramelized, seasoned, and ever-so-slightly suffocating under a gooey layer of Parmesan cheese, the sprouts quickly became the most popular shared dish at our table.

Delicious food, great service and reasonable prices make L’Artusi my new favorite Italian. Welcome to the neighborhood!

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