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Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria


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#1 Lippy

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 04:28 PM

It was after a movie at the Angelica. Acme was closed for a private party, so we walked down the street and were seated at the bar without any wait the same day the Times's 3-star review appeared. It was too late for a full meal, but R had a dish of pasta with bottarga and I had an appetizer of squid with chickpeas. R. liked his pasta and the strand I was able to secure was good, but I'm not sure it's any better than elsewhere. The portion was small -- to my liking. Didn't Pete Wells rave about the chickpeas, as if he had never had any others like them? Here's the secret: they properly pinch or rub off the thin, grainy skins and don't overcook them. That's it. The squid was cooked very plainly -- a la plancha -- but...but...but...the quill was left inside. I don't want to think too hard about this, but I know from my own experience what one can find inside a squid and it is obvious that this was not cleaned with care. I wanted to draw the quill to the attention of the kitchen, but my plate was whisked away when I was in conversation with a tablemate and without the evidence, I didn't want to bother.

The bread is good; the olive oil for dipping even better.

The atmosphere was very pleasant, with the happy babble of contented diners over some music low and inoffensive enough to permit conversation. We will be back -- but three stars? C'mon.

#2 nuxvomica

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 04:40 PM

our experience there in January was so mediocre it wasn't worth a thread (i don't remember if i wrote it up anywhere either). good bread though and proper temp. cheese. decent pasta. an unusual salad that on paper looked crazy but was quite good. food mostly under-seasoned, hovering bussers snatching plates way too quickly in an empty restaurant, server veering between friendly and helpful to rather superior, little wine knowledge ("dry, it's a dry wine").

i'm glad they made such great strides in a little over a month but the three stars seem especially crazy based on my experience
“Eat me,’’ it says. “Eat me and die.’’ -- Jonathan Gold

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#3 Sneakeater

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 05:00 PM

It's funny that I never bothered to write this place up. I've had three very enjoyable meals here. The menu is based upon that of the parent restaurant, Il Buco, but I think execution is much more reliable here. The bar staff are just dolls (the guy as well as the gal).

BUT it never seemed worth saying any of that. Another good rustic Italian place: big deal.

Now, however, there IS something to say: THREE STARS MY ASS.
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#4 Lippy

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 05:04 PM

Another good rustic Italian place: big deal.

Exactly.

#5 Wilfrid

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 05:32 PM

The supplementary Diner's Journal piece on "five dishes" kind of underlines it. Deep fried salt cod fritters; a simple spaghetti dish; cold cuts. Very nice, but it's not three star dining - except in this weird mirror world where serving oysters and steak tartar makes The Dutch the most exciting restaurant in the city.

But Sifton only gave The Dutch two stars. :o

#6 Sneakeater

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 05:37 PM

Once Parm gets two stars, a place that makes its own (very good, even excellent) salumi, AND serves full meals, AND has a wine program, almost HAS to get three stars.
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#7 jmoranmoya

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 05:44 PM

Sneakeater is spot on! This place is great, the food is really good with superb quality ingredients , but it is not worthy to mention because there are tons of Italian restaurants doing the same type of cuisine in NY...

Some pictures:



We really liked the crudo. I will recommend this place to a friend and will go back.

On a different topic, a restaurant that is worth mentioning is Gwynnett St. in Williamsburg. I believe from the guys from WD50. But probably there is a different topic for it.

#8 Sneakeater

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 05:46 PM

There isn't that I know of. I hope you start one FAST.
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#9 Lex

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 05:50 PM

Once Parm gets two stars, a place that makes its own (very good, even excellent) salumi, AND serves full meals, AND has a wine program, almost HAS to get three stars.

In a logical world, yes. In TimesReviewerLand, no

I think what we're seeing is an extension of Sam Sifton's idiosyncratic style. Sam's reviews were all over the place. If he got excited about a place he tended to award extra stars, regardless of whether there was a logical justification based on a formal set of criteria. "I love this place! Three stars!"

I think, based on a relatively small sample, that Wells is doing the same thing. His tropes seem to be different than Sifton's. Sifton loved name chefs who also were fishermen and restaurants that made him feel young and hip. We're going to have to give Wells more time but I think his own quirks will become apparent in the next couple of months.

“I have a dream of a multiplicity of pastramis.”

"One of the Evil Twin beers I tried smelled like a foot." - LiquidNY

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#10 Sneakeater

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 05:52 PM

Actually, all joking aside, I think you're absolutely right. Josh Ozersky said the same thing yesterday. (I don't mean to insult you, Lex, by suggesting that you agree with Ozersky.)
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#11 Lex

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 05:55 PM

Actually, all joking aside, I think you're absolutely right. Josh Ozersky said the same thing yesterday. (I don't mean to insult you, Lex, by suggesting that you agree with Ozersky.)

Every once in awhile Ozersky will say something really sensible, something that shows he really has a deep understanding of the way things work. I think, unfortunately, that he's decided that there's more money in playing the meat loving buffoon.

“I have a dream of a multiplicity of pastramis.”

"One of the Evil Twin beers I tried smelled like a foot." - LiquidNY

"I don't have time to point out all the ways in which you're wrong" - irnscrabblechf52


#12 oakapple

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 06:10 PM

Once Parm gets two stars, a place that makes its own (very good, even excellent) salumi, AND serves full meals, AND has a wine program, almost HAS to get three stars.

The problem, as a few folks have noted, is that neighborhood Italian is the most over-represented cuisine in NYC. Every report I've seen besides Wells's review, suggests that if this place deserves three stars, so do about 100 other places.

I think what we're seeing is an extension of Sam Sifton's idiosyncratic style. Sam's reviews were all over the place. If he got excited about a place he tended to award extra stars, regardless of whether there was a logical justification based on a formal set of criteria. "I love this place! Three stars!"

Funnily enough, Sifton never actually did that. He dished out an awful lot of idiosyncratic one- and two-star ratings, including a number of places that made you wonder why he had visited them at all, much less selected the ratings he did.

But like Frank Bruni, he took the three- and four-star ratings rather seriously. I believe his only widely criticized threespot was Colicchio & Sons. But when you read his review, C&S at least sounds like a three-star restaurant. The criticism was because practically no one (including his fellow pro critics) felt that the food was as good as Sifton claimed it was.

The problem with Wells's review is that, even if every dish is as good as he says, this just doesn't sound like a three-star restaurant, much as Parm doesn't sound like two.
Marc Shepherd
Editor, New York Journal

#13 Wilfrid

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 06:34 PM

Obviously I am biased, but even if your talking about best (or one of the best) in category, how does this place have better cooked food, a superior wine program and more interesting cheese and salume than SD26?

#14 oakapple

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 06:52 PM

Obviously I am biased, but even if your talking about best (or one of the best) in category, how does this place have better cooked food, a superior wine program and more interesting cheese and salume than SD26?

I was going to guess: price.(*)

But then I looked at Wells's review, and I see: "Salumi and appetizers, $9 to $19; primi, $17 to $21; secondi, $29 to $38." So it is not particularly inexpensive.

(*) The Times ratings take price into account, a practice I disagree with, which sometimes leads to ratings absurdities. But at these prices, you couldn't prefer this place to SD26 on value grounds.
Marc Shepherd
Editor, New York Journal

#15 Lex

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 07:06 PM

Funnily enough, Sifton never actually did that. He dished out an awful lot of idiosyncratic one- and two-star ratings, including a number of places that made you wonder why he had visited them at all, much less selected the ratings he did.

Thinking about it some more, you're right. Sifton took the 3 star ratings more seriously. That said, I think that Wells is continuing Sifton's pattern of awarding stars based on his level of enthusiasm for a restaurant as opposed to how well it performs against specific criteria.

CStuart will love this - Wells is following the Yelp model.

“I have a dream of a multiplicity of pastramis.”

"One of the Evil Twin beers I tried smelled like a foot." - LiquidNY

"I don't have time to point out all the ways in which you're wrong" - irnscrabblechf52