Hostaria del Piccolo
My partner and I will be eating there tonight (thanks to Blackboard Eats). I've skimmed the (few) threads about the restaurant. Seems like posters felt that the non-pizza dishes were superior. Any additional suggestions on what we should try?
Called to confirm and then made a reservation for tonight! The app (ricottino, or something like that) and the 2 pastas were great (pasticchio again, penne w/ truffle oil). The pizza (the testarossa) was unimpressive. Oddly tasteless crust, tomatoes that are out-of-season, and an salty but otherwise bland tomato-and-basil sauce. Can't quite understand how the same kitchen that turns out all that other yummy food came up w/ that pizza....
the pizza was the weakest part of my meal too.
my pasta, though, was terrific, and my gnocchi was terrific.
the pizza crust and the tomato sauce were exactly as you described, ilysia.
i had never ordered pizza there before, and probably won't order it again.
for pizza at that price point, i'd rather go to steila rosa or to milo and olive.
at that price, one can get stellar pizza at other places.
(btw, i found a recipe in one of evan kleiman's books that basically duplicates the base of the great ricottino. she called it Ricotta al Forno.)
Agreed about the pizza. I couldn't help but think that I could spend the same amount of $ to get a much better pizza at M + O or spend half the (regular) price to go to 800 Deg (during off hrs).
At half off, the pizza was fine, but it still just wasn't particularly enjoyable to eat.
The salads there looked quite substantial, so I may try one eventually.
Thanks for the tip! If I find the recipe, I'll hand it over to my partner, since I only know how to eat! (and bake, a little) The Piccolo ricottino also really needed the (delicious) wine reduction to make it sing (although it was still quite tasty on its own w/ the lovely mushrooms).
Thanks for the responses!
Had to wait a few minutes for a table, despite the reservation (it was VERY crowded). Ended up getting a seat in the patio, which was enclosed and would've been wonderful, had there not been a few drops of rain that pelted me every few min (the waiter tried to move the table around, but it didn't help much). The wooden seats and benches are surprisingly comfortable.
My partner and I ended up having the fried calamari, the spinach pappardelle, the pasticcio, and the tiramisu for dessert. Wine was one glass of the pinot grigio, and 2 glasses of the verdicchio (I think).
Everything was delicious. The batter for the calamari was quite light (so much so that I ended up eating the leftover batter bits once the seafood itself was gone), and they threw in 2 shrimp (w/ the shells. Not sure if that was done to preserve flavor and tenderness during the frying process?). The spinach pasta had a nice chew and the duck ragu was quite rich. The pasticcio (which was my entree) was absolutely fantastic, although my partner thought the portion size might be too large, given how rich it is. I thought it was perfect. ;) One of the few times that the food has been so flavorful and satisfying that I actually slowed down the eating process to savor the flavors. Heh.
Tiramisu was lovely, but there was a bit too much cocoa powder on top for my taste.
I asked for a white wine that was not too dry, and the waiter gave a great recommendation in the verdicchio, which had just a bit of spice.
Table next to us had several salads, all of which seemed ENORMOUS. I think the portion size at this place is just right (enough that you feel like you got a good amount of food, but small enough that you're not overly stuffed at the end of the meal).
Total (including 30% off) was $65.00, which I think is an absolute steal for the quality of the food. I'd happily return even w/o the coupon.
I was there for the first time this week - and I liked it a lot. Went with 4 friends. I had the calamari and chard, and grilled octopus apps for a meal. Will be going back for more. Maybe even tonight.
Also the white bean side and the white asparagus with parmigiano. Both very good. A friend had the whitefish (I think that's what it was - or perhaps seabass) - also very good.
The pizza? Disappointing. The toppings were good, the pizza itself was a big bland, and didn't have a good chew to it. (went to Pizzeria Mozza today for a private event - pizza is still pretty stellar there - had 4 kinds all great - and those fried ricotta stuffed zucchini flowers. Wow! Double wow!)
Back to Piccolo - a friend had a pasta which he liked (but I didn't try).
This place would be off the hook if they focused on the apps - and made it a small-plate Italian restaurant.