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This is the new rustic Italian place opened on Grove Street (right off Seventh Ave.) in the West Village by Rita Sodi and Jody Williams, whom we now all know (if we didn't know before -- as I didn't) are a couple.

 

It marks Chef Williams's return to Italian, after her French detour at Buvette. It marks Chef Sodi's venturing beyond Tuscany, the region whose food she serves at I Sodi.

 

I went opening night (Monday). I admit that's stupid. The service was almost touchingly discombobulated. But everyone was so sweet about everything. The bartender -- I think his name is Colm? -- was incredibly nice.

 

OK, the food. There's nothing left to say about rustic Italian in New York. It's among the most comforting comfort food there is. But if you're not eating it in rustic Italy, there's a limit to how much it can thrill you -- a limit that had been reached even before the top of Pete Wells's head blew off at Il Buco AV. So while everything I had was cooked more than correctly -- almost perfectly -- and I liked it all very much, I don't have much to say about it.

 

Here are some of the things they do right here:

 

Technique. My backed pizzoccheri were perfect, crusty on top, moist beneath.

 

Seasoning. The rosemary (I think) liberally sprinkled on the fried rabbit set it off perfectly.

 

Very nice wine list. Very good Negroni.

 

I personally find strictly regional Italian more interesting than the kind of generic pan-Italian they do here, so I'd still give I Sodi a slight edge. But this place is really good. Not a destination, because rustic Italian can't be, by definition. But very much worth dropping into.

 

Can anyone remember what was here before?

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This is the new rustic Italian place opened on Grove Street (right off Seventh Ave.) in the West Village by Rita Sodi and Jody Williams, whom we now all know (if we didn't know before -- as I didn't)

NY Times T Magazine weighs in.

We had lunch here yesterday...Overall, i enjoyed some things and didn't enjoy other things.. We stayed with the vegetable section for the most part.. The flavoring and seasoning is a little too lemon

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