I haven’t been back to Il Buco in a very very long time (like 15 years!) but I know for a fact through friends and reviews that this restaurant has remained just as tasty and ever popular. The fact that reservations are just as hard to score now as it was back in the late 90s is proof enough. One person who has never been is Cookie Monster so for date night, I decided to take him there for his first time.
If you haven’t been to Il Buco, the inside is beautiful! It’s very rustic with a very intimate and cozy feeling. However, it should be noted that the tables are communal. The menu changes daily. The chef goes to the market every day and gets what is in season and prepares it for that night. There is also a menu that is constant but I suggest getting something that is prepared special for that day – you are pretty much guaranteed a plate with amazing produce or ingredients in it! A quick glance of the menu and you knew that for the night we dined, snap peas were in season.
We decided to share the ramp croquettes because I am obsessed with ramps and they are only available for a short period of time at the start of summer:
Crispy fried little balls with a wonderfully creamy center spiked with the delicious aroma of that onion-y flavor that ramps are known for. A squirt of lemon and we were loving these.
Shot of innards:
For appetizer, Cookie Monster got one of their pastas. Their pastas are freshly handmade. He chose the pasta with snap peas and sausage:
It was SOOOOO GOOD! Those snap peas had such a pleasant crispy bite to them and the sweetness of the peas were a really lovely contrast against the saltier morsels of sausage. Oooo I had the worst food envy.
I got the veal carpaccio with arugula and shaved parmesan:
To be honest the veal was not pounded thinly enough so the bites were a bit chewy. I dont know if Il Buco did something to the veal itself but luckily it was full of flavor somehow and quite tasty. That is what saved this dish for me. Chewy but at least the meat was full of flavor and it was paired nicely with the peppery arugula.
For main course, Cookie Monster got the pork with grilled spring onions:
The pork wasn’t a chop (I think it was pork shoulder) so it wasn’t as thickly cut or fatty but it was just as juicy and flavorful. I loved the spring onions that were rendered sweeter by the grilling.
I got the whole grilled orata with a snap peas and radish salad:
Loved that salad. So fresh and crunchy. The fish was tasty and flaky but goodness there were alot of bones! I mean it was annoying. Every bite my fingers were reaching for my mouth picking out the bones. It’s kind of hard to enjoy your meal when you have to stop every mouthful.
For dessert, Cookie Monster got the flourless chocolate with salted caramel ice cream:
I got the panna cotta with 16 year old aged balsamic vinegar:
I didn’t think I would like balsamic vinegar with my panna cotta but it was pretty interesting. It added a sweet/sour element to the panna cotta. However, I still prefer my panna cotta plain or with fruit.
So Il Buco’s still got it. It’s delicious and offering up fresh market fare which I love. I think that’s what makes all their dishes so delectable – wonderful ingredients always create a wonderfully tasty dish. Add the beautiful rustic environment and you have a very pleasant dining experience.
Il Buco, 47 Bond Street, New York, NY