Carved deep into a NoHo storefront, this sister establishment to Il Buco, around the block on Bond Street, includes a bakery, a salumeria, an enoteca, and a restaurant, all rolled seamlessly into one. Up front is a sprawling deli counter of meats and cheeses, freshly baked bread, and imported oils and vinegars, as well as a small bar that houses orange juice and coffee machines along with the hard stuff.
In the lower-level dining room, the right balance of tile, exposed brick, and copper pots lends a rustic minimalism. The efficient use of square footage and enticing market clutter are features any New Yorker can appreciate, but unlike most restaurants decorated with cans of imported tomatoes and cured sausages, you may consider buying something here. The artisanal dry goods are a mix of local (hand-labelled bottles of upstate maple syrup) and imported (Sicilian anchovies in salt)—the stuff gift baskets are made of.
Throughout the day, casual patrons can stop in for sandwiches on ethereal, cloud-like focaccia, or homemade gelato. By night, the place is packed with a stiffer clientele—think blazers and silk dresses—whose collective temperament is discordant with the atmosphere of mealtime relaxation. Even the food looks at ease—the breezy, colorful plating is ready for its country-cookbook closeup. One week, an early-summer appetizer of tender bison tartare came with mint and bright-green chickpeas; a few weeks later, it was accompanied by favas and watercress. Skip the gem lettuces, a sort of deconstructed salad; for fourteen dollars, there aren’t enough white anchovies. A diner appraising the fried artichokes (“That looks like the potpourri in my mom’s bathroom!”) discovered they tasted much better than they looked. Rich jamón ibérico is sliced to perfection but costs about twice as much as it should. Instead, get the house-made salumi, with buttery ribbons of pancetta and aromatic finocchiona.
There’s a strong selection of pastas, some of them house-made and others imported brands like Gentile, one of the oldest pasta-makers in Italy. Heavenly hunks of slow-roasted short rib, peppercorn-crusted and topped with freshly grated horseradish, come in parchment on wooden slabs. Whole roasted fish (branzino or turbot) are reliably flaky and tender, served with caramelized lemon. Slices of juicy porchetta were, in midsummer, accompanied by a bright palette of grilled peaches, pickled red onions, and a fresh-herb salad. A cracker-like garnish that appeared to be a bread stick was in fact crispy pork skin, which added the perfect crunch.
It's still faster than you could draw it