Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Family Style

My parents, Luke & Paula, booked a last minute flight to come visit me in February as an early birthday celebration/found a great air fare trip. You can blame my parents for me living here. Not because they are so terrible I needed to move that far away from Texas, but because they planned a family vacation to New York City in 1994 to see the Macy's Day Parade. At 10 years old I decided I was going to live in New York "when I grew up". I was sold after seeing Les Mis live for the first time, eating at Tavern on the Green (RIP), riding a carriage through Central Park and buying my Planet Hollywood t-shirt - I did not even know there was a 14th street then. I love when my parents come to visit because it is now my turn to show them New York.

Booking a last minute ticket set a challenge to quickly and strategically create a restaurant itinerary. I had to choose wisely. After reading my blog post on brussels sprouts, my dad requested we go to Westville for brunch to revisit his youth of eating the delicious vegetable. Brunch at Westville was a huge success and satisfying meal of course. Next: dinner. I have walked by Barbuto, always wanting to eat in the converted garage space, but never had the right occasion. Since becoming empty nesters, my parents have become big fans of Top Chef, so since Barbuto's Executive Chef, Jonathan Waxman, competed on Top Chef Masters, it was a perfect opportunity to eat at Barbuto. Not to mention that Barbuto means "beard" in Italian, so for those that know Luke and his famed (and graying) beard, it was even more perfect!

Candle lighting the Italian-focused menu with the Barbuto dog icon

The restaurant space like I mentioned is a large converted garage where during summer months, garage doors open for ideal outdoor dining. But since it was below 30 degrees, the closed garage doors functioned as walls, with floor to ceiling windows providing an open air feel in an industrial setting. The scene is a fun, loud and bustling neighborhood mix of large parties celebrating in the casual atmosphere and couples sharing an intimate meal over candlelight.

Outlined in the Italian format of antipasti, primi, secondi, and contorni, the menu changes seasonally. Our lively, knowledgeable and entertaining waiter explained Barbuto prides itself on serving organic and local produce before guiding us through his top recommendations. Like any good Italian meal, food is served family style. From the antipasti section, we ordered the prosciutto and bruschetta. I pretty much order prosciutto any time I can, and this was some of the best I have had. I am not a big salt person, rarely asking to pass the salt or season before I eat, but I kept thinking how every dish was perfectly seasoned. Perhaps that is from watching too many seasons of Top Chef judges critique the lack of salt...

Composed family style plate:
Tagliatelle al’agnello with lamb & pecorino ragu, wilted kale sautéed with garlic & chilis, and duck.

I was giddy happy at Barbuto: maybe because I was celebrating my birthday with my parents, or because the food was so delicious, or feeding off the energetic crowd or it was the second bottle of wine - or all of the above - I had a delightful time eating at Barbuto and highly recommend it.


775 Washington Street

212 924 9700

Monday - Wednesday: Noon - 11:00 p.m.

Thursday - Saturday: Noon - Midnight

Sunday: Noon - 10:00 p.m.

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