Posted by: Hungry Korean | September 29, 2010

Bocca di Bacco

Nestled in midtown west is a cute, rustic Italian restaurant, Bocca di Bacco. It definitely stands out from the street because unlike all the other bland typical storefronts, the restaurant appears warm and inviting…add the fact that it serves up Italian food and two words come instantly to mind “comfort food.”

Cookie Monster and I like to go here, especially during the cold winter days as it’s close to his apt and the food is relatively good.  Last night we met up with an old colleague of his and his wife at Bocca di Bacco for dinner. Funnily enough, his colleague mentioned that he had often walked by the restaurant and thought that he would like to try the place one day. 🙂

The restaurant is warmly lit with dark corners for couples (it’s a great place for a date) and that’s the main reason I’ve never blogged about this place. The restaurant is a bit dark and pictures never came out – but with the new iphone 4G, which comes with a flash, I am finally able to show you a glimpse into this place. And let me tell you, taking photos was a bit scary every time as the flash is quite bright and you never know when someone will come over and tell you to stop.

The bread they serve is accompanied by freshly made bruschetta.

The spread was slightly garlicky and full of chopped tomatoes, basil and extra virgin olive oil flavor. It was good and much healthier than butter.

Cookie Monster, who usually gets the meatballs, opted for something different and got the eggplant stuffed with ricotta in a vodka sauce. It was quite good I have to say.

I started with the meatball appetizer.

Are these the best meatballs I’ve ever had? no. But are they good enough? yes.  The meatballs are more on the dense side and appear to be all meat with little seasoning. If you want just a simple full meat flavor, this meatball is for you. It’s not chunky or airy so you aren’t gonna really be able to separate out oregano, or chunks of onion or anything like that….it literally appears to be just meat. To be honest, the texture and flavor sort of remind me of the meatballs you get in Chef Boyardee – in the best way possible of course 🙂  The sauce is a simple one of crushed tomatoes simmered with a little garlic and olive oil.  They hit the spot as I was craving something hearty and meaty.  They are about the size of golf balls.

For main course, Cookie Monster got the special of the day: risotto with mushrooms drizzled with truffle oil.

Ok haha I know it doesn’t look like much but it was DIVINE!!!! The risotto was cooked to a perfect creaminess. There was melted parmesan folded into the tender morsels of risotto, mushroom and truffle oil.  That truffle flavor added the crowning glory bringing the dish over that line from delicious to heavenly.  It’s pretty rich so I was happy with just a couple bites but boy was it good!

I tried to be healthy and got the grilled fish of the day – whole branzino. They filet it for you table side.

It’s served with a lemon half and sauteed spinach. Flesh was meaty and firm imparted with a slight char. It was a nice piece of fish – I love branzino.  It took a lot of willpower for me not to order a pasta dish with meat sauce but I’m happier today for having gone the healthy route.

The food at Bocca di Bacco is good (not amazing) but the food is simple and non pretentious and it’s really a beautiful little restaurant with a lovely atmosphere. It’s always bustling without being overly loud and it allows you to feel like you are tucked away from New York – somewhere cozy, having a nice glass of red and enjoying some comfort Italian food. The place just makes me feel warm and fuzzy.

Bocca di Bacco, 828 Ninth Avenue, New York, NY

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