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#31 Wilfrid1

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 01:42 PM

Some will remember that, a few years ago, I made an effort to eat my way through some of the old Italian-American places. It was soon abandoned. Some of the food was quite dismal. I think the most enjoyable was Roberto's, which isn't quite as stuck in the past.

But I never got to Manducatis.
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#32 OTB

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 01:48 PM

QUOTE(omnivorette @ Mar 24 2008, 08:25 AM) View Post
And I'd add Queen and Cono O'Pescatore to this list. And Piccolo Venezia, and Don Pepe.


Most of the Arthur Avenue places as well, such as Mario's, Pasquale's Rigoletto, Umberto's, and Domenick's. Which I'd argue are some of the best representing the genre in NYC. Roberto's is more like Babbo or any of the "new-style" Italian restaurants.
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#33 Wilfrid1

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 01:51 PM

Roberto's nudges in that direction, but still sends out huge plates of clams and sauce and pasta to eat family style.
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#34 OTB

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 02:15 PM

QUOTE(Wilfrid @ Mar 24 2008, 09:51 AM) View Post
Roberto's nudges in that direction, but still sends out huge plates of clams and sauce and pasta to eat family style.


Right, its still Italian-American, but they are definitely aspiring to be more than just a "red sauce" place. I'd also say its probably the best of any of these in the entire area.

Becco also comes to mind as being one of these quasi Italian Americans. Whereas Gino's Italian Cuisine is totally in-your-face Italian American and makes no other pretense about it. laugh.gif
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#35 Steve R.

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 02:35 PM

QUOTE(OTB @ Mar 24 2008, 10:15 AM) View Post
QUOTE(Wilfrid @ Mar 24 2008, 09:51 AM) View Post
Roberto's nudges in that direction, but still sends out huge plates of clams and sauce and pasta to eat family style.


Right, its still Italian-American, but they are definitely aspiring to be more than just a "red sauce" place. I'd also say its probably the best of any of these in the entire area.

Becco also comes to mind as being one of these quasi Italian Americans. Whereas Gino's Italian Cuisine is totally in-your-face Italian American and makes no other pretense about it. laugh.gif


Basically I agree with Roberto's not being a perfect example. Similarly, Queen no longer is either, since the "kids" took over 5 or so years ago and introduced some additional ideas into the menu. But, as we say in Brooklyn, "close enough".

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#36 Abbylovi

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 02:43 PM

QUOTE(Sneakeater @ Mar 23 2008, 09:48 PM) View Post
Places like this are only questionably worth writing about, but it might be interesting to note that, over the last week, I had occasion to eat at both Manducatis and Sfloglia. So I had a chance to compare this example of old-school Southern Italian-American and a mid-level modern New York Italian restaurant.

I have no great love for Sfoglia. Sure, I think it towers over everything else in its immediate neighborhood -- but that's more a reflection of the neighborhood than a testament to Sfloglia. It's nothing more than a good Italian place in the current mode.

Sfoglia blew Manducatis away. Places like Manducatis are a source of great nostalgia for people like me who grew up with this kind of food. But compared, just as food, with an upper-middling current Italian restaurant, it has little to recommend itself. Not bad, certainly. But equally certainly not worth a trip (I was in the neighborhood). Not for the food (as opposed to the experience), anyway. And yes, Ida was in the kitchen.

Well, except for two things.

One, of course, is price. Manducatis is cheaper. (As a place in Long Island City had better be.)

The other is the excellent wine program. I understand that it might be only a pale reflection of its former self, but I loved that I could discuss with the sommelier what type of wine I wanted, and he came back with a perfect inexpensive choice. In this case, in response to my request for a light but earthy red to accompany a pork loin, a St. Magdalener. Assuming I was a normal person instead of a maniac, he thought he was bringing me a new discovery instead of something I drink at home. But still, you don't see this much depth, at such easygoing prices, at many places.

Sneak have you been to Manetta's, which is just down the street from Manducatis?
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#37 Sneakeater

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 03:03 PM

No. I was thinking of going Friday night, but got lazy and stuck with what I knew. I guess I should, next time I'm in the area?
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#38 omnivorette

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 03:06 PM

Sneak, if you didn't like Manducatis, you probably won't like it. And it doesn't have that wine program.

If you don't like old school red sauce Italian food or those places, then don't bother.
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#39 Sneakeater

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 03:09 PM

The thing is, Omni, I like them. When I was a child, that was my very favorite kind of food. It's just that their shortcomings become very apparent when they're compared directly with "real" restaurants.
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#40 omnivorette

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 03:11 PM

So why compare them? Enjoy them for what they are...

You should get to Piccolo Venezia.
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#41 Abbylovi

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 03:15 PM

QUOTE(Sneakeater @ Mar 24 2008, 11:03 AM) View Post
No. I was thinking of going Friday night, but got lazy and stuck with what I knew. I guess I should, next time I'm in the area?

Well if you are in the area and want Italian, I would try it. Also, it's just as close (if not closer) to the Chocolate Factory.
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#42 Sneakeater

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 03:15 PM

Been.
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#43 Steve R.

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 03:18 PM

QUOTE(Sneakeater @ Mar 24 2008, 11:09 AM) View Post
The thing is, Omni, I like them. When I was a child, that was my very favorite kind of food. It's just that their shortcomings become very apparent when they're compared directly with "real" restaurants.


I agree, in general, but there are definitely some that are as good as the "real" restaurants. I think Don Peppe is over, Bamonte's is garbage, Manducatis uneven and mediocre and there are a couple of other Brooklyn places worth a visit now and again (like the opera singing place in Bay Ridge with a similarly good wine cellar... is that Tommasso's?).

However, Piccolo V. is above the norm, Il Mulino is hit or miss depending on whether they like you and you order right (and it's 5 times the price) but can churn out a top notch dinner. Piccolo Angelo is still a favorite of mine and I'd go there as easily as any moderate priced E.Village outpost or Gusto. Queen is the only Brooklyn one that is right up there with "real" places. The decor sucks and the waiters might have some attitude, but the food's way above the others. I see a field trip there coming on for us Bklyn folks. smile.gif

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#44 Sneakeater

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 03:19 PM

Yeah!
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#45 omnivorette

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 03:20 PM

And us ex-Brooklyn folks.

I like Cono O'Pescatore too. I think it's Tuesday nights - everything on their wine list is 50% off or something like that.
"It seems a positively Quixotic quest to defend food from being used as any kind of social signifier, as if it could avoid the fate of each other component of our everyday lives." -Wilfrid