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"New York" Italian

I'll be coming out to New York in a few weeks, and am planning out a few of my meals. Here on the SF board, I often hear people complaining about how the Italian food isn't anything like what they got back in NY.

So, what's make it "New York" style Italian? I see it also described as "red sauce" Italian. I'm pretty sure I've had versions of this (just saw an old thread that calls Buca di Beppo a "bad nostalgic rendition," haha). Still, thought I'd get in some good Italian food while out here! (Went to Lupa on my last trip out here, but that doesn't really fit *this* definition of Italian.)

Where should I go to experience this? What particular dishes should I try?

Thanks!

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  1. Homemade pasta with bolognese sauce is perfect! Check out Piccolo Angolo in the West Village

    1. Try as hard as you can to get a reservation at Babbo. I'm one of those people guilty of "complaining" in SF and I'm usually referring to the pasta at Babbo and not your typical "red sauce" italian. Focus on the antipasti and the primi at Babbo.

      I like the pasta at Incanto and Oliveto but I like the pasta at Babbo even more. I'm still waiting for Incanto or Oliveto or Quince to serve orecchiette. The markup for wine at Babbo isn't bad either (sometimes as low as 1.6x). It's best if you go with a group of 4 or 5 so you can try as many pasta dishes as possible. If you're only a party of 2, you have your work cut out for you.

      www.babbonyc.com

      8 Replies
      1. re: Porthos

        Ah, only 2, and the other is vegetarian, so my work will be cut out for me, haha. I'll give them a call tomorrow, see what their availability's like. How does Babbo compare to Lupa?

        1. re: nsheth

          Lupa was Batali's first venture...a classic!

          1. re: LFeinberg

            I really enjoy Lupa as well - though I thought Po was his first place (though he's no longer associated with it).

            1. re: MMRuth

              You're probably right about Po, though I know that Lupa was pre-Babbo.

              1. re: LFeinberg

                Wrong again, Babbo opened in 1998 and Lupa followed in 1999.

                1. re: KTinNYC

                  Wow, my most sincere apologies, KT!

          2. re: nsheth

            Lupa is the more casual (not that Babbo is formal) everyday sort of place where you can grab a nice wine by the glass or carafe and have a great pasta or entree for a very reasonable price.

            Babbo's pastas are much more consistent (although the orecchiette at Lupa is stellar when it's not oversalted from the pecorino) and much greater in variety. There is usually at least 1 vegetarian pasta option although you will miss many of the classics (like wild boar ragu or beef cheek ravioli or orecchiette with sweet sausage) that make Babbo shine. Also, note that different cheeses will be grated over different pastas to reflect the region and style of each pasta.

            1. re: Porthos

              I am over the Babbo/Batali babble. Has nothing to do with NYC Italian other than overpriced real estate and menu. Yawn.

        2. I've had good experiences at English is Italian.

          3 Replies
          1. re: jza1218

            your joking about English is Italian? that place has been roundly panned here and everywhere else, in fact I think it closed. The one meal I had there was frightening.

            Italian American Places
            - Piccolo Angelo (downtown)
            - Patsy's Midtown
            - Roberto's in the Bronx
            - Maybe Il Mulino, not sure that qualifies as red sauce italian american but it is definately NY, due your research, some dont like it, I happen to like it especially when someone else us paying....

            1. re: Cpalms

              Great choices! Love Piccolo Angolo...

              1. re: Cpalms

                That's why I said that I've had good experiences at English is Italian. I didn't make a blanket statement regarding others experiences there.

                And I just noticed that it closed too.

            2. for the kind of italian food you're looking for, ECCO would be perfect. it has great atmosphere (most nights there is a piano player) and the veal parmagiana is delicious.

              1. I Think Il Nido in the 50's off of 2nd qualifies. It's a little old fashioned and caters to an older crowd, but the servers are lovely and they make the carbonara table side. It's delicious.