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Apizz, Le Zie or somewhere else for birthday?

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O.K. so it's my birthday and I am going out to dinner with hubby and our two grown kids. Our tastes are so diverse it's not funny. If I had a choice I would go to Balthazar or Scarpetta (again), but I really would rather try something new. I also want us all to be comfortable and have fun.

My son is a pain in the you know what. He is a chicken parm and scorching hot pepper loving guy and extremely casual. The last meal we enjoyed out together was at Dinosaur BBQ. But it's my birthday and I want to go somewhere I haven't been to before.

So, I'm thinking Italian because we all like it. I would consider Roberto's on Arthur Ave except they don't take rezzies and the last time I was there we waited two hours which killed the dining experience completely. Plus, again I've already been there so I don't know why I am considering it.

I like what CHers have said about Apizz and Le Zie - folksy down home Italian. Any others we should consider? Looking for excellent solid straight forward home cooking. Thanks!

Trish

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Apizz
217 Eldridge St., New York, NY 10002

Le Zie
172 7th Ave, New York, NY 10011

Scarpetta
355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que
777 W. 125th Street, New York, NY 10027

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  1. Those are two pretty good ideas. But you know, the PITA son can get some of the best spaghetti and meatballs in the city at Scarpetta and you get to celebrate YOUR birthday where you'd like to.

    Other ideas: Red Cat would have some straightforward chicken plus starch for him.

    Or... How about a steakhouse? Keen's, Porterhouse?

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    Red Cat
    227 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011

    Scarpetta
    355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

    1 Reply
    1. re: chow_gal

      I think I want to try something I've never been to just for the fun and excitement of it. The Red Cat menu doesn't have enough options for this group. And my daughters does not eat red meat so I've ruled out steakhouses. I know the steakhouses have options other than steak, but those items tend to be afterthoughts.

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      Red Cat
      227 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011

    2. I like Le Zie but not really for a special occasion. I'd pick Apizz which has some traditional dishes along with interesting ones that you might like.

      Another suggestion I have Locanda Verde which has great pastas and a spicy sausage sandwich for your son. The atmosphere is also a lot of fun, especially for a family outing (unless you really hate noise - it can get noisy).

      1 Reply
      1. re: stephaniec25

        Thanks, I like Locanda Verde too. Went there with my husband a few months ago. Have also been to Peasant.

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        Locanda Verde
        377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

      2. I'm reading old CH threads.... another good-sounding spot that pops up is Malatesta. Any thoughts on that?

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        Malatesta
        649 Washington St, New York, NY 10014

        1 Reply
        1. re: TrishUntrapped

          I know there is one poster that is high on Malatesta but I really don't think it's anything special. It's definitely not on the level of the other Italian places you mentioned. How about Maialino?

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          Malatesta
          649 Washington St, New York, NY 10014

          Maialino
          2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

        2. Thanks for the rec's everyone...so hard to pick, New York has so many vast treasurers.

          I'm now leaning towards Pepolino because of the wide variety of pastas. I think the menu hits the high notes and CH posts seem pretty favorable.

          Your thoughts?

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          Pepolino
          281 W Broadway, New York, NY 10013

          2 Replies
          1. re: TrishUntrapped

            I'm going to answer my own question I made a reservation at Pepolino. The man who answered the phone was very amusing, so looking forward to our dinner next week. I'll report back. Thanks all!

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            Pepolino
            281 W Broadway, New York, NY 10013

            1. re: TrishUntrapped

              We enjoyed my birthday dinner very much at Pepolino. The food and service made it a delicious and fun destination.

              The meal started off on a great note with a basket of Italian bread and ciabatta served with a molded Gelatina di Pomodoro spread (canned tomatoes, garlic, basil, red pepper, tightened with a little bit of gelatin). My kids went wild for the spread and had me ask for the recipe so we can make it at home.

              We enjoyed an app of crostini with sausage and amazingly smooth, rich, and creamy stracchino cheese. None of us had had this kind of cheese before and it was a revelation, making an ordinary crostini a bit special.

              For our first course, we decided to order three half-orders of pasta to share among the four of us -Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato and Basil, Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi, and Maltagliati with Veal Ragu. The spaghetti was my favorite, with straightforward clean tomato and basil flavors melding with perfectly al dente pasta. My kids loved the gnocchi which was light and pillowy. The veal ragu was what it should be, meaty and hearty, but a little bland for my taste.

              For mains, I ordered a special of the day, Skirt Steak with a Balsamic Reduction, my husband had the Lamb Chops with Porcinis, the kids had the Chicken and Pears sauteed in Red Wine, and the Stewed Wild Boar with Olives.

              The skirt steak was perfectly cooked as ordered (medium rare) and the sauce was rich and worthy of sopping up with a piece of bread. The chicken was fine flavorwise but not exciting to me. The lamb was good, tinged with some nice fresh rosemary, but the real winner of the night was the Wild Boar. Wow. Texture-wise it was like a delicious fork-tender pot roast, and the sauce (gravy) was full of delicious meaty flavor, like a short ribs braise.

              We were full with no room for dessert at that point, so we had a few cappucinos and decided to take a walk and enjoy the beautiful night.

              The bill came to $264 with tax, pre- tip, and also included two bottles of red wine- a Barolo type, and a Merlot/Cab mix, as well as a glass of Chardonnay.

              Considering we had several different palates to please, Pepolino hit the right note for all of us with a simple straightforward style, and home-cooking goodness. Service was friendly, attentive, and never distracting. We had so much fun, we all agreed Pepolino is worth a return visit.

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              Pepolino
              281 W Broadway, New York, NY 10013