Today my friend Ashley (formerly introduced and pictured in Alta post) and I went on a mission to eat at Ippudo, something I’ve been trying to do since the day I moved to New York. But when she and her boyfriend called me to announce the 2.5 hour wait for a table, we all knew that today was not our day for ramen. We wandered the neighborhood, and after seeing a crowd outside of Peels and Five Points, we decided to sit at the wooden high top tables inside Il Buco Alimentari, an italian eatery that recently earned a NY Times’ three star review.
I was of course thrilled to have an opportunity to eat somewhere new and on my list, but I have to admit pasta and panini are not my meal of choice after a night of a few too many cocktails. But once we sat down and were served a bountiful basket of the soft, chewy, perfectly tearable housemade italian bread, I was sold.
Despite sighting Tara Reid in a blue trucker hat alternating between smoking a cigarette and kissing a boy (also in trucker hat) right outside our table, we were able to focus on the array of meats, bread, cheeses, and baked sweets at the counter to prevent us from losing our appetites. We started with the fresh ricotta, beautifully prepared with pea-green fava beans, fresh oil, oregano, black pepper, and anchovies, as well as the crispy artichokes, which looked like one luscious bouquet of green roses. With the soft bread, these two appetizers could have been the perfect vegetarian meal, but they only encouraged us to order more.
After seeing the fried soft shell crab sandwich special, Ash and I knew we were set to order. With layers of meaty fried crab, fresh greens and basil aioli between a soft italian hoagie, the sandwich was fit for a king. We also couldn’t resist the grilled sausage with lentils the zuppa with kale, farro, and chickpeas – both which were intensely flavorful and again, wonderful complements to the incredible bread.
Typically if I am impressed with my meal, I can’t resist seeing what’s in store for dessert. Glancing at a dessert menu like Il Buco’s, I knew there was no turning back. We shared the polenta orange cake with amaretto gelato and the chocolate budino with espresso mousse, whipped cream, and a crispy chocolate wafer. Both were to die for but I couldn’t keep my spoon out of the pudding, which was light but intensely chocolatey and subtly sweet.
Considering the casual setting, friendly service, and minimal wait time, I can’t imagine that I won’t return here this month. The food is straight forward and simple but perfectly executed. And next time, I’ll try the pasta.
Location: 53 Great Jones between Lafayette and Bowery