It is not every day that one of your favorite neighborhood restaurants decides to open up a sister restaurant. It is even more rare that the new restaurant is located just a few blocks away. And it is nearly impossible to imagine that it could meet up to the high standards of the original spot. Well, Dell'Anima has done it - opening L'Artusi earlier this month on West 10th street near Bleecker. The concept is hardly any different, but that is not a bad thing since the first restaurant's only flaw is overcrowding. It has not taken long for loyal diners to discover the new spot and, despite its larger size, it appears that this one may face the same challenge.
At L'Artusi, the chefs continue to do no wrong - and do even better by offering only dishes under $20. Here too, you will find an open kitchen lined by bar stools - but the bar wraps around the entire restaurant, providing many more spaces for diners. You can make a reservation for a table or enter as a walk-in and eat at the bar. Not to worry if there is a wait (and there will most likely be) as you will be highly entertained by their cocktail list and the great selection of music from all decades. Again, the ambiance is right on the money, guaranteeing another neighborhood following.
The menu is divided into Crudo (raw), Verdura (greens), Pasta, Pesce (fish), and Carne (meat). We covered the first four categories and had not a single regret. For an extremely fresh and light dish, order the thinly sliced raw sea scallops served with lemon, olive oil and chives. Surprisingly, a simple dish from the verdura section was our favorite starter - the frisee salad with speck, homemade croutons, and a poached egg on top. This dish was perfectly prepared. I have definitely sampled many versions of this salad over the years, but this was by far the best. I am going to have a hard time returning and not ordering this every time! The warm dishes to follow were complete hits as well. We shared the beef brisket over polenta and the pizzocheri pasta. While both were delicious, the pasta was absolutely amazing. I will not be shy in saying that this dish ranks as one of my all-time favorite pasta dishes - and, I have definitely ordered many in my day! The thick, flat buckwheat noodles are topped with sage, Brussels sprouts and fontina cheese and then baked in the oven. On a cold, winter night, it simply does not get better than that. And, again for those opposed to this particular green, I guarantee that even you will love the dish.
I have already mapped out my next outing to L'Artusi. My only worry is that on all return trips, I will have to order the frisee salad and the pizzocheri pasta - they are both that good. But, I have a feeling I have many more stops at L'Artusi ahead of me. The atmosphere is so upbeat and the price of the food (not necessarily the drink, but really, where is that ever the case these days?) is right. And, multiple meals with multiple friends means there will definitely be room to sample at least four dishes an outing - room for a minimum of two new ones each time. I still call that adventuresome with a side of loyal and a dash of supporting the local favorites!
228 W. 10th St. (Hudson and Bleecker)
New York, NY 10014
Phone: (212) 255-5757