Bello Squardo on UWS
I can't recall anyone ever posting about this mid-priced Mediterranean, located between Bettola and Nice-Matin on Amsterdam between 79th and 80th St.
The menu http://www.menupages.com/restaurantde...
combines small plates with full-sized entrees and a decent, if pedestrian wine list that is very well priced. My friend and I shared three small plates:
The Patlican Salad, a proper Turkish smoked eggplant puree, served with warm pita triangles.
Acorn Squash with Caramelized Onions -- the kind of dish you could easily yourself. Nothing special, but put caramelized onions inside a paper airplane and it would taste good.
Brussels Sprouts sauteed in a brown butter sauce --a special -- was very good.
The entrees were not successful. The "Moroccan" chicken with preserved lemons and cracked olives just didn't work. The olives clashed with the lemon flavor and the chicken was noticeably but not fatally overcooked.
The tagliatelle with lamb ragu wasn't any better (although I love that all pastas, including ours, are available in half-orders). The pasta was mushy, the ragu was watery, and the lamb tasteless.
Service was friendly but there were several timing issues. The waiter was sincerely apologetic, even though the first two wines we ordered were "out," we liked that our waiter didn't claim expertise that he didn't have. He asked the bartender to help find a substitute for the wines that we wanted.
The restaurant was about two-thirds full. We didn't feel rushed at all as we lingered over wine. I won't rush back, especially considering the great pizza available next door, but there could be worse things than eating small plates here.
Anyone have discoveries at Bello Sguardo that we missed?
I've eaten here a few times and come to the same conclusion; no hurry to go back, but it's probably the best option in the 'hood for small plates. It's also nice to sit outside and not be rushed, although the lack of decent service was more a cause of this than anything. I've found the pastas to be the better options on the menu and I've had the anchovies every time.
This is one of those places that everyone points to when talking about UWS food being lackluster... with no decent alternatives, a mediocre spot like this is 2/3rds full every weeknight.