Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria (Noho/Greenwich Village): Mangia Monday

Photos by Cara Garcia-Bou

Photos by Cara Garcia-Bou

  • Why it’s worth it: Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria masters the mash-up of restaurant and market; one pops in to browse, and one sticks around for a meal. Known for its in house-cured meats and home baked bread, Il Buco AV, Il Buco‘s casual spin-off, is perfect for grabbing Aperitivo with friends, co-workers and/or family. Plain and simple, the drinks and salumi della casa are top notch.
  • Vibe/layout: This casual, bright and simple Italian spot serves rustic Italian fare in a perfectly complimentary setting: terra-cotta floor tiles, handblown wine bottles, rickety chairs. Separated from the dimly lit dining room by a wall of Modena vinegar barrels, the front Alimentari grocery section offers curated dry goods and loaves of Italian bread baked in-house and features high-end sauces and condiments arrayed on antique wooden shelves.
  • Ideal meal: To drink, order either the refreshing Negroni Sbagliato (prosecco, campari, sweet vermouth) ($14) or the crisp Italiano Fresco (dry vermouth, soda, cucumber lime, basil) ($15). To eat, we cannot rave enough about the salumi della casa: the bits of peppery salami were superb and the fat on the prosciutto was tender and dissolved in a rush of salty, porky flavor. Each meat was unique and delicious.
  • F.Y.I.: Donna Lennard’s ‘straunt is located at the original site of the Great Jones Lumber Supply and recuperated joists from the original structure were incorporated into the design: bar paneling, banquette benches, tables and cutting boards. In addition, traces of the original lumber yard graffiti are still visible on the brick walls.
  • ‘Straunt tip: Artist Warren Muller’s studio used to be located in the Il Buco space; today, one can see his giant sculptural lamp hanging from the second floor dining room in Il Buco AV.
  • Address: Noho/Greenwich Village, 53 Great Jones St. (Between Lafayette & Bowery)
  • Prices: $8-$34

A little something extra:

  • A few weeks ago, we were fortunate enough to attend the launch party for this ‘straunt’s Aperitivo. The menu was fabulous and the dishes were wholesomely delicious. The spontaneous spirit of this ‘straunt and the open kitchen’s wood-burning aromas left us sniffing and begging for more. Bravo Chef Joel Hough and team!

Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria on Urbanspoon

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Il Buco (Noho): Mangia Monday

Il Buco Noho Italian

  • Why it’s worth it: Il Buco has it right; it’s slinky and seductive while still maintaining a charming accessibility and air. The seasonal food is extremely fresh and executed with skill and perfection. In short, Il Buco is perfect for a date night, ladies night out, after-work drink or family gathering.
  • Vibe/layout: This charming rustic Italian ‘straunt comprised mostly of wood and brick throbs with energy. The dimly lit main dining room has pottery-laden shelves, scattered with wine bottles, and copper pots hanging from hooks or stuffed in the corners. The eclectic wall art and light fixtures transform the rather cramped room with low ceilings into a fabulous authentic Italian ‘straunt. The wine cellar is more relaxed and private, and reminiscent of a room that you would expect to find in the basement of an old Italian estate.
  • Ideal meal: Cannolicchi (artisan dried pasta, brussels sprouts, pancetta, pecorino romano) ($22)
  • People behind Il Buco: The owners, Donna Lennard and Alberto Avalle, first opened the hole-in-the-wall (Il Buco literally means the hole in Italian) as an antique shop in 1994 and gradually transformed it into a full-fledged restaurant.
  • ‘Straunt tip: Enjoy a delicious, romantic and relaxed dinner at Il Buco and then check out the Invader’s graffiti on the side of The Wren, where you should grab a drink.
  • F.Y.I.: Reservations are a must, especially on the weekends.
  • Address: Noho/Greenwich Village, 47 Bond St (between Bowery & Lafayette)
  • Prices: $10-$38

Il Buco on Urbanspoon

Gato (Noho)

Gato Noho

  • Why it’s worth it: Bobby Flay’s “New-Mediterranean” Noho hot spot has received rave reviews, and we’re here to add to them, but in our own special way of course. Here’s the low down: if you want spectacular appetizers (bar selection) in a trendy, intimate and energetic ‘straunt, go to Gato. We’ll be honest: the portions are small, but they are bursting with flavor!
  • Vibe/layout: The front of this bustling ‘straunt boasts a U-shaped bar counter for walk-ins, while the back dining area is dimly lit and set with spare wooden tables. The high ceilings compliment the brick and dark varnished wooden walls and colorful geometric floor tiles, making this ‘straunt perfect for an intimate date or a friendly dining experience.
  • Ideal meal: Bar (choose 3): Artichoke heart, lamb tenderloin, eggplant ($17); Vegetable: Crispy potatoes (poached egg, smoked paprika, Parmigiano) ($12); Entrée: Kale and wild mushroom paella (crispy artichokes, eggs) ($28)
    • The lamb tenderloin, crispy potatoes and kale entrée are must orders; the flavors are bold and assertive and are perfect for splitting between two.
  • Address: Noho/Greenwich Village, 324 Lafayette St (between East Houston & Bleecker)
  • Prices: $12-$39

Gato on Urbanspoon

The Smile (Noho)

The Smile

  • Why it’s worth it: Tucked away a few steps below street level, you’ll find The Smile, a hybrid general store and cafe; however, no one goes to The Smile to shop; they go to eat in the artfully rustic atmosphere.
  • Vibe/layout: With the music low and the tone conversational, this dimly lit, wood-ceilinged space emits a charming and tavernesque feel that is perfect for a meal with friends, family or a date. In addition, this ‘straunt is great for GF and vegetarian foodies!
  • Ideal meal: Moroccan lamb meatballs to start ($9) and spaghetti & heirloom tomato sauce with fresh mozzarella & basil ($15)
  • People behind The Smile: The owners, Carlos Quirarte and Matt Kliegman, are the duo behind the Jane hotel ballroom and Westway and the chef, Melia Marden, is a Harvard grad and also the daughter of the art-world power couple Brice and Helen Marden.
  • Address: Noho, 26 Bond St (between Bowery & Lafayette)
  • Prices: $7-$24

The Smile on Urbanspoon

Rosemary’s (West Village): Mangia Monday

rosemary's

  • Why it’s worth it: Rosemary’s is perfect for catching up with friends and/or family. This ‘straunt takes pride in its rooftop garden, which sources many of its fresh ingredients featured on the menu, and its chef, Wade Moises, who studied under Mario Batali (at Babbo and Lupa).
  • Vibe/Layout: This barn-like ‘straunt boasts a large open floor plan packed with rustic tables, industrial bulb chandeliers, greenery and oversized windows. Festive strings of lights dangle from the exposed rafters and give this ‘straunt it’s airy, tasteful and modern decor. The ‘straunt has a large bar area in the back and is scattered with communal tables and circular dining tables in the front.
  • Ideal Meal: Bucatini pesto rosso ($13)
  • Straunt tip: Grab a bite to eat here and then head to Big Gay Ice Cream down the block for some amazing ice cream.
  • F.Y.I.: Rosemary’s is named after the owner’s, Carlos Suarez’s (also owner of Bobo), mother. The ‘straunt is outfitted in mirror frames built from vintage farm equipment, tabletops constructed from the floors of an old bicycle factory and lanterns rescued from a municipal building in France.
  • Address: West Village, 18 Greenwich Ave (W 10th St)
  • Prices: $6-$26

Rosemary's on Urbanspoon

Otto Enoteca e Pizzeria (Greenwich Village): Mangia Monday

Want to experience a Mario Batali ‘straunt, but don’t want to break the bank or dip into next month’s rent check? We’ve got just the ‘straunt for you: Otto.Ottos

  • Why it’s worth it: Conveniently located just past Washington Square Park, and a few blocks from NYU, Mario Batali’s Otto Enoteca e Pizzeria is a great place to grab a meal. Whether you are going on a date, hanging out with friends or taking your visiting family to Otto’s, you are sure to find something that everyone will enjoy. Otto offers salads, appetizers (meat, vegetable, fish or cheese), pizza, pasta and an extensive wine collection.
  • Vibe/Layout: Beyond its revolving front door is a wine bar and elevated tables that help to set up the atmosphere for the large interior. The middle section of the ‘straunt is finished with red walls and wooden tables and provides a more intimate feel with tables of 2 and 4. The back section of the ‘straunt is bustling and chatty and ideal for hosting larger parties.
  • Ideal meal: Caprese salad ($8), pane frattau pizza ($13) (tomato, pecorino, egg) and milk chocolate chip gelato (special thanks to my mom for teaching me to always leave room for dessert)
  • F.Y.I.: This ‘straunt is modeled off of a train station, such that, upon checking in, your group will be given the name of a city and you watch the train schedule board click away until your reservation is called. In addition, “Otto Enoteca” actually means wine bar and offers more than 700 types of vino.
  • Address: Greenwich Village, 1 5th Avenue (on 8th St and 5th Ave)
  • Prices:$8-$20

Otto Enoteca & Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Jane: Greenwich Village/Soho Brunch

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jane

  • Why it’s worth it: Jane has large portions, the price is right and the brunch items come with a complimentary cocktail. Definitely a default brunch spot on the weekends!
  • Vibe: Cozy and modern decor with a relaxed vibe. This spot is always crowded on the weekends, so be sure to make a reservation before going  (I can’t stress this enough!). Great brunch spot for friends and family, but definitely not a first date spot!
  • Layout: The space is tight, but the high ceilings make it so you can hear your friends. There is an upstairs and downstairs with ample seating and the downstairs level contains a waiting area and a private room.
  • Ideal meal: The brunch menu covers all the basics, but they also serve chicken and waffles! I LOVE the classic Eggs Benedict ($18); however, for those who prefer their brunches on the sweeter side: the Vanilla Bean French Toast ($18) that I tried off my aunt’s plate was delicious as well (Thanks Aunt Susan!)! The challah bread was thick and delicious and the texture was amazing. Served with a generous sprinkle of confectioner’s sugar and maple syrup, it’s sure to quell any sweet tooth!
  • F.Y.I.: For Sunday brunch, if you get one of the brunch items, you receive a complimentary drink (freshly squeezed juices, apple champagne, Bloody Mary, mimosa, etc.)
  • People behind Jane: Jane is owned and operated by Jeffrey Lefcourt and Glenn Harris (of Corner Table Restaurants), who also own and operate The Smith.
  • Address: Greenwich Village, 100 W. Houston St. (near Thompson St)
  • Prices: $4-$25 (depends how fancy you want to get…and how hungry you are)

Jane on Urbanspoon