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#1 Sneakeater

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 02:37 PM

Having emerged from a dance performance in LIC, the choice for dinner was obvious. One can get bistro food (Tournesol) almost anywhere, but in this day and age seriously produced red-sauce Italian is a rarity. Also, Manducatis is right outside the stop for my subway line home. Let's go.

Manducatis is one of those places that get inflated reputations both for their out-of-the-way locations and their (now, ironically in this case) out-of-the-way cuisine. If there were more places serving good Southern red-sauce Italian -- and I guess if that cuisine didn't have such a high nostalgia value for so many of us -- the few that do wouldn't be so automatically lionized as bastions of lost authenticity.

If you don't go expecting a great meal, however, Manducatis is very enjoyable. And if you like wine, it offers you a lot.

I started with eggplant rollatini. They were about as good as this dish can be.

Then, roast suckling pig. A better, more stylish kitchen would have cooked the pork a lot less. But it also would have been more sparing with the rosemary, which created a sort of fragrant cloud around the dish.

Now, the wine list. This is an old-school place, so even though the food is strictly Southern, the wines are strictly Northern. You won't learn about all the exiting new developments in Southern Italian winemaking here. But they are very serious about their wine. The sommelier is incredibly knowledgeable, and extremely enthusiastic. Since their list is so deep and their mark-up so gentle, I decided to order a bottle for myself and take home the remnant. The sommelier asked me what I was thinking of, and when I said "a medium-weight red for the pork" he exclaimed, "How would you like a single-vineyard Barbera for $35!" and brought me over something fruity but characterful.

Life would be better if it were always so easy to drink wine in restaurants.
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#2 Abbylovi

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 02:41 PM

Manducatis is in my neighborhood and despite the fact that I've lived there for 12 years, I've only been once. I keep meaning to go back but when in the mood for Italian, I just go further up the street to Manetta's.

Did you go to the Chocolate Factory to see the dance performance?
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#3 Sneakeater

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 02:41 PM

Yep.
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#4 Wilfrid1

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 02:43 PM

This is another place which has been on my list for years; I keep forgetting about it.
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#5 yvonne johnson

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 03:01 PM

QUOTE(Wilfrid @ Oct 2 2007, 10:43 AM) View Post
This is another place which has been on my list for years; I keep forgetting about it.

Well, not surprisng. Your Italian restaurants adventure, some time ago, wasn't exactly pleasant, was it?

G went back to I Trulli for a work dinner the other night and he said it was bad. It wasn't good that night we went with you and Beloved either.
It was not a new dish, as I recognised my tooth marks. Wilfrid

#6 Lippy

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 03:05 PM

I agree with Yvonne. You won't like it. I do, but I grew up with that kind of Italian food.

#7 Wilfrid1

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 03:14 PM

QUOTE(yvonne johnson @ Oct 2 2007, 11:01 AM) View Post
QUOTE(Wilfrid @ Oct 2 2007, 10:43 AM) View Post
This is another place which has been on my list for years; I keep forgetting about it.

Well, not surprisng. Your Italian restaurants adventure, some time ago, wasn't exactly pleasant, was it?

G went back to I Trulli for a work dinner the other night and he said it was bad. It wasn't good that night we went with you and Beloved either.


What a long time ago that was. People seem to think Manducatis is better than Don Pepe, though.
Elect-a-lujah

***Every Monday***At the Sign of the Pink Pig.

If the author could go around the place hitting random readers with a rubber hammer, the Pink Pig would still be worth a visit.

#8 Wilfrid1

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 03:14 PM

QUOTE(Lippy @ Oct 2 2007, 11:05 AM) View Post
I agree with Yvonne. You won't like it. I do, but I grew up with that kind of Italian food.


I liked Roberto's.
Elect-a-lujah

***Every Monday***At the Sign of the Pink Pig.

If the author could go around the place hitting random readers with a rubber hammer, the Pink Pig would still be worth a visit.

#9 StephanieL

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 03:17 PM

I thought what I had here earlier this year was fine, but I wouldn't go out of my way to go back.

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#10 djk

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 03:30 PM

i went quite a few times but quite a few years ago. mama would do the italian version of omakase if you asked and while some dishes were perfectly fine, some were really great. don't kno if she's still cooking - it's been about 7 years since i've been. but they did have a fun wine list that did go deep and was pretty well priced all things considered. too bad it's unmemorable now. i remember the son - who may also be the sommelier - telling me that danny meyer conceived of gramercy tavern at the table in the corner. this seemed to be very important to him and may now even have a plaque.

#11 Lippy

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 03:53 PM

QUOTE(Wilfrid @ Oct 2 2007, 11:14 AM) View Post
People seem to think Manducatis is better than Don Pepe, though.


It's definitely better than Don Pepe.

#12 Steve R.

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 04:17 PM

QUOTE(Sneakeater @ Oct 2 2007, 10:37 AM) View Post
Having emerged from a dance performance in LIC, the choice for dinner was obvious. One can get bistro food (Tournesol) almost anywhere, but in this day and age seriously produced red-sauce Italian is a rarity. Also, Manducatis is right outside the stop for my subway line home. Let's go.

Manducatis is one of those places that get inflated reputations both for their out-of-the-way location and their (now, ironically in this case) out-of-the-way cuisine. If there were more places serving good Southern red-sauce Italian -- and I guess if that cuisine didn't have such a high nostalgia value for so many of us -- the few that do wouldn't be so automatically lionized as bastions of lost authenticity.

If you don't go expecting a great meal, however, Manducatis is very enjoyable. And if you like wine, it offers you a lot.

I started with eggplant rollatini. They were about as good as this dish can be.

Then, roast suckling pig. A better, more stylish kitchen would have cooked the pork a lot less. But it also would have been more sparing with the rosemary, which created a sort of fragrant cloud around the dish.

Now, the wine list. This is an old-school place, so even though the food is strictly Southern, the wines are strictly Northern. You won't learn about all the exiting new developments in Southern Italian winemaking here. But they are very serious about their wine. The sommelier is incredibly knowledgeable, and extremely enthusiastic. Since their list is so deep and their mark-up so gentle, I decided to order a bottle for myself and take home the remnant. The sommelier asked me what I was thinking of, and when I said "a medium-weight red for the pork" he exclaimed, "How would you like a single-vineyard Barbera for $35!" and brought me over something fruity but characterful.

Life would be better if it were always so easy to drink wine in restaurants.



Now, when was the last time that I've known the subject at hand and agreed 100% with what someone wrote about it? Very well put Sneak... and right on the money. I love this place for being what it is. When Ida is in the kitchen, the food goes up a notch or two, but it's a place that basically offers a good meal (sometimes with a great thing or two, sometimes with a very mediocre thing or two, but just about never a bad thing or two) at a fair price w/an excellent wine list. It's her older son that is the sommelier (at least it always was)... he and his brother will probably inherit and run the place eventually. The cooking will suffer. I miss having places like this throughout the city, although none of them are "destination" places.

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#13 Sneakeater

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 04:22 PM

I would've guessed that guy was a son. He just seemed like he was.

(Thanks, BTW.)
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#14 Rich

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 05:35 PM

I first went to Maducati's about 35 years ago and it was very good. Today, I think it has slipped a notch or two and is a decent neighborhood place. There are two or three better-type places in LIC I would go before Maducati's. (Manetta's has better food, but a very poor wine list and there's a no-name, old wise-guy place on Vernon Blvd. that has excellent food and few good Chiantis - it's located in the back of a neighborhood bar - read gin joint.)

SE - I think they recommended that wine because it's one of the few they have in stock. Although the wine list is impressive, the last few times I chose four or five before I found one they actually had.

#15 Rich

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 05:46 PM

QUOTE(Wilfrid @ Oct 2 2007, 11:14 AM) View Post
QUOTE(yvonne johnson @ Oct 2 2007, 11:01 AM) View Post
QUOTE(Wilfrid @ Oct 2 2007, 10:43 AM) View Post
This is another place which has been on my list for years; I keep forgetting about it.

Well, not surprisng. Your Italian restaurants adventure, some time ago, wasn't exactly pleasant, was it?

G went back to I Trulli for a work dinner the other night and he said it was bad. It wasn't good that night we went with you and Beloved either.


What a long time ago that was. People seem to think Manducatis is better than Don Pepe, though.


Wilf, there are very few places that aren't better than Don Pepe's. The amount of butter they use in their red gravy is sickening. They have the poorest wine list in captivity and the fish tastes like it just came out of Jamaica Bay. The Thoroughbreds, that live about 100 yards away, don't eat there. If you're in that neighborhood, it's better to travel about 15 minutes to Park Side - good food, user friendly wine list and a great, great show.