Saturday night, and we were back at Cavatappo. It has quickly become our go-to restaurant near AV's place-- delicious Italian food, reasonably priced, and relatively easy to get into. This time around, we nabbed a 7PM reservation about an hour before and tumbled in right on time to a bustling dining room.
Before I get to the food, I will say this: there is never a shortage of complete characters at Cavatappo. This time around we were seated next to four middle-aged diners, one of whom spent the evening regaling the others about her Xanax-and-three-martini flight habits, another of whom interrupted-- literally interrupted-- our waiter mid-discussion with us to demand the check. Ahhh, the Upper East Side.
First the bread. The picture is blurry, but the bread is reliable, and the olive oil was delicious. One piece dispatched quickly quieted my hungry stomach.
And then the entrees. AV went for a dish he has enjoyed thoroughly in the past, the rigatoni with eggplant, tomato sauce, and ricotta. This is one of those dishes that is hearty and warm and comforting all at once. A hefty portion of such is also only $15 (it's also available in an appetizer portion for $9).
My choice was two veggie sides, a sauteed spinach and a sauteed broccoli. I asked for "easy on the oil" for both, as these types of veggies in restaurants can often just become oil bombs, and the kitchen complied. Both were well-cooked and fresh; the broccoli retained its al dente bite, which added some much-needed texture to the soft spinach. The two portions combined were huge-- I ate half of each and had the remainder for dinner the next day.
So for under $25 for the two of us, we were in and out with happy hearts and full bellies. I'll also add that the service at Cavatappo is always a delight-- we've had a number of different servers there, and they're always warm and friendly with a much-needed sense of humor. So once again, Cavatappo retains its four Offset Spatula status as our familiar neighborhood joint. I'd encourage you to check it out. Just don't take our table!
1712 First Avenue, between 88th and 89th Streets