Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Italian on Tenth 

I've already written about the amazing Piadina. It's the kind of little Italian place that you want little Italian places to be but usually aren't. No Carmine Street cheesiness. Friendly Italian waiters who aren’t too pretty. Good pasta which is not overserved or oversauced. Wine by the carafe. Dimly lit. Slightly rustic without becoming a themepark. I have no idea how long Piadina has been open but it feels like it has been tucked into its west tenth street space forever.

This Friday we went to Marco New York, just two blocks west of Piadina. It is modern and new and everything Piadina isn't. Since I love Piadina, perhaps I should dislike Marco NY. But I love it. This was my third time eating there. We arrived at eight on a Friday night, and were seated instantly despite being told they were fully booked. The waiter was helpful and recommended an amazing barbera. I was suspicious because the barbera I’ve had in Italy tended to be too light, almost fizzy. Marco’s was thick and smooth and the color of rubies (and I’m sorry I’ve forgotten the name of the winery). Everything we ordered was wonderful—the mussels, Mediterranean sea bass and especially the cubes of Wild Boar. The boar was so good that it’s going to be very hard not to order it every time I go back.

And on the way out, the owner-manager-sister-of-the-chef chatted with us and very nearly embraced me when I told her how much I loved the food. "Spread the word," she implored. "You look like you have a lot of friends."

Ah, flattery is the best dessert.