L'Apicio or Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria
A brief report on L'Apicio, where we had dinner a few days ago. The branzino with artichokes and preserved lemon was terrific - the fish was perfectly cooked, the artichoke was presented in giant pieces (as I prefer my artichokes to be), and the accompanying leafy greens were very fresh and well-seasoned. I was not as thrilled with the trufie nero with octopus. The pasta was pleasantly chewy - almost like gummy worms - but the sauce was so rich and salty that the poor octopus didn't stand a chance. I could see it there, white and smooth, but I couldn't taste it. I enjoyed the polenta with roasted mushrooms, but it's served spread out across a long, slab-like plate. Attractive to look at, and very quick to cool down. So eat it fast, unless you like tepid polenta (I don't).
Service was stellar. Our companions mis-remembered the reservation time and didn't arrive 'til we'd given up on them and ordered. Our server instantly (and without being asked) put a hold on our entrees so we could all eat together. She also steered me toward exactly the kind of wine I was looking for.
I've been to both. The choice for me is easy - L'Apicio. The food's at least as good, and it's a better value. I really enjoyed the pappardelle with oxtail ragu at L'Apicio. At Il Buco A&V I got the rabbit lasagnette, and at $21 (if I recall correctly), it was a joke. The rest of the meal was ok, nothing special, but uniformly overpriced.
i havent been to l'apicio but have been to dell'anima and l'artusi enough to guess that pastas are their strength here as well.
il buco alimentari is the opposite. their pastas were kind of horrible in my opinion. their entrees were solid though...particularly hearty, winter food like porchetta and short ribs.
il buco alimentari has a nice buzz and its a nice spot. id probably go here again rather than l'apicio.