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Welcome to The Lunch Belle, a NYC based food and travel website that views various dining scenes and destinations through the lens - and belly - of a highly opinionated thirty-something.

xoxo, 

Lindsay

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Tuesday
Feb212012

Dinner at Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria

Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria:  53 Great Jones St. (btwn Lafayette & Bowery), NYC 10012

Note:  I only have one picture from this meal and, because of that, this review is relatively compact.  All of my writings are reliant on my photos, as they evoke memory.

I was always familiar with the name, "Il Buco," because of the long-standing Italian restaurant that resides in Manhattan.  Personally, I had not been, nor had I heard of its recently-opened wine bar/gourmet food counter/restaurant, Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria.  That was, of course, until last night...

In honor of Theresa's visit from Dallas, Stacey booked a table for the three of us, plus her beau, for dinner.  After having read the menu online...and the 3-star review that the restaurant recently received from the NY Times...I was highly anticipating our meal. 

When I arrived, my first impression was "bustling space that resembled more gourmet products shop than wine bar or restaurant."  However, as I inched my way further within the venue, I spotted both bar and proper dining room.

Photo found on Tasting Table: gourmet shopPhoto found on Tasting Table: dining room Our bountiful meal included:  a gorgeous bottle of red - house-baked, crusty Italian bread (accompanied by olive oil and sea salt) - Crispy Artichokes with preserved lemon - Ricotta with roasted beets, white grapefruit, and pistachio - Seared Vermont Quail with persimmons, farro, yogurt, and watercress - Roasted Lamb Ribs with romesco and smoked salt - and individual entrees (Stacey and Theresa split the Salt-Roasted Branzino, and Kevin went with the Creekstone Farms' Spit-Roasted Short Ribs).  And, for the table:  Broccoli Rabe, and Organic Umbrian Beans.

Being the die-hard, starch-loving, carboholic, I could not pass on the "primi," or pasta section, of the menu.  The house-made Gnudi, with sage and brown butter, is what ultimately sang to me. 

What I received, however, was beyond even my wildest dreams...

Unfortunately, I snapped this photo with my phone, so it's not nearly as attractive as it was in-person.  Or as attractive as it could have been, had I brought my camera.  Regardless, this dish was as close to perfection as any "pasta" I've ever had. 

Supple, melt-in-your-mouth gnudi pillows (made from ricotta cheese, flour, parmesan cheese, eggs and, perhaps, cream) sat atop a shallow bath of olive oil and sweet, aged balsamic vinegar.  Parmesan shavings and drizzled balsamic crowned the top. 

This outstanding marriage of sweet and savory warrants a return visit to the restaurant, in and of itself.  Yes, folks, it was that good.

~~~

Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle

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