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Il Buco for dinner: views?

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Hi,

I will be having visitors in town, and was wondering what others' experience with dinner at Il Buco were like? We are very much into food, and prefer places that are mostly about very good ingredients and rustic, robust cooking (don't really care much about presentation, molecular stuff, stuffy service, etc).

If you are not fond of Il Buco, on top of saying so and why, maybe you can recommend some other places (Italian or otherwise, as we're open to any and all cuisines).

Thanks many in advance.

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  1. Il Buco always seems one of the more controversial places in NYC. If you like it, it is one of the most ingredients-driven northern Italian spots in the city in a fun, rustic setting. If you hate it, it is overpriced with tiny portions in a loud yet pretentious setting. It is the kind of place that offers something like "quail with lentils" on the menu for $12-$15. What arrives is a single quail on a bed of lentils. However, the lentils are really Umbrian from the best part of the Castellucian area, and this year's crop, not last year, dressed with $50 / liter olive oil, and probably Tuscan as Umbrian oil wouldn't stand up to the lentils the same way. And the quail is something from a fancy farm, or perhaps even wild. If Mario Batali put this on a tasting menu, where the price was less obvious, nobody would bat an eye and everyone would acknowledge the quality. In isolation, it rubs a lot of people the wrong way.

    I love the place, but I hope this explains the risks associated with it as well. I would also say the same goes for their sister restaurant.

    1. I love it, and think it's a hit with out-of-towners.

      1. I love Il Buco -- the rustic Italian decor with funky former antique store fixtures, the hearty food, and warm service -- and given the preferences you state, I think you should love it, too. I have not found it to be particularly pricey, considering comparable restaurants, nor have I found the portions too precious. I could make a meal of their bread and olive oils alone. It is just the sort of place I would love to introduce an out-of-town friend to.

        1. i'm not a fan. the menu is too limited...ive been with a big group and everyone ends up ordering the same 1 or 2 things.

          food was ok but not worth the money. the place itself reminds me of the italian pavilion in epcot center. fake rustic to me.

          for some other solid options in the area, i love calliope on 2nd ave. acme is a fun place for a group.

          1. Love it, especially for a small group. Take a look at Alimentari as well - may be more fun with visitors, and not far from the original.