I have had Barbuto on my wish list of restaurants since first being introduced to Jonathan Waxman (metaphorically). I first saw chef Waxman on Top Chef Masters and instantly loved his quiet yet quirky demeanor. Wasn’t hard to be impressed by his credentials either, read more about his biography HERE.
Barbuto is a trendy little spot nestled in the West Village of Manhattan. Described as rustic Italian, it has an assortment of evolving dishes to suit any palette. While the foundations stay the same much of the time (such as there is always a version of gnocchi on the menu) the preparation changes frequently. One can go back again and again and never get tired of it.
My companion and I were seated with a view into the open kitchen, not quite the chef’s table but close enough. I loved watching what a smooth well oiled operation the kitchen operated as. The servers were all dressed casual in a black t-shirt with Barbuto’s shaggy dog logo on it, I want one!! (hint hint if anyone from the restaurant reads this)
To start off I ordered the insalata di cavolo made with green kale, pecorino, with a breadcrumb and anchovy dressing. Normally I’m not really keen on kale as I find it a bit boring but our server recommended the dish as their most popular on the antipasti menu. The server also without prompting said the salad could be done without the anchovy which was a relief because that component alone would have steered me into ordering something else. I was pleasantly surprised that the other components of the dish really transformed the kale into anything but boring. The combination of the ingredients made it taste rather like a healthier and guilt free ceasar salad.
Considering it is one of the prides of the menu, I had to order the gnocchi. This night’s version was done with broccoli, green garlic, parmesan, and pistachio. The gnocchi were as perfect as perfect can be. Soft, light pillows of deliciousness perfectly browned in butter. It is going to be hard for me to go back and order anything other then the gnocchi in future, I will just have to go with numerous companions and make them order all the other things I want to taste. The accompaniments were subtle adding complexity to the flavour of the dish while really letting the gnocchi be the star.
Wanting to try some variety, I also ordered the patate off of the contorni (side) menu. Potatoes fried with pecorino and rosemary. Perfectly crisp and delicious. It was a very generous serving so definitely shareable.
After the yumminess I had experienced thus far, there was no way I was going to pass up dessert. I ordered the torta, which was a layered hazelnut cake with caramel drizzle. Impressively light in flavor and texture. Really the ideal end to an Italian meal which traditionally can lean to the heavier side.
While having my meal I was admiring one of the great decor features in the restaurant which is two walls of large garage door windows. I was able to visualize how amazing it must be in the summer when they are rolled up allowing the inside dining room and outside patio to became one large space.
Already counting down to my next visit.
Barbuto NYC website HERE.