Thursday, July 8, 2010

Wrestlin' bread at Zucca

Two weekends ago, AS's friends were in town and wanted to explore the West Village on Saturday night. So the six of us set out into the Village wilds to start the evening with some Italian food.

We ended up at Zucca Trattoria, a relatively nondescript Italian joint right in Sheridan Square. And I'll tell you right up front: Zucca is the quintessential middling Italian place that fills the gaping maw between Olive Garden and Babbo in the Italian spectrum. Was it great? No. Was it reasonably priced? Yes. Was it filling? Yes. Done and done.

We started with some bread and apps. The bread was fine, with my only gripe being the presentation style: They had only cut the pieces about halfway down in the loaf, and with the incredibly, persistently thick bottom crust to this bread, extracting one piece from the remaining slices involved a personal wrestling match filled with contorting arms and flying elbows. Watch our for your neighbors' water glasses. I'm just sayin'.

Look at how thick the bottom crust is!! Fo' real, yo!

The apps were a fried calamari and a burrata with mortadella. Both were well-received, although I'll say the calamari looked a little paltry when it hit the table. The burrata came with some large and flaccid roasted red peppers and some tomato slices, along with a liberal sprinkling of dried oregano.

They really liked the limp radicchio garnish theme...

Mmmm, burratta

How were the entrees? Also along the same lines-- not bad, but not exceptional. There was a seafood pasta special; a veal scaloppine; an orecchiette with broccoli rabe; a ravioli; and a fusilli with some other delights mixed in. I went for the beet salad with asparagus and ricotta salata. My thoughts: though multicolor beets were promised, the only beets that populated the plate were red; the asparagus looked like overcooked green beans; and the cheese was cheese. Did it taste fine? Sure. Was it worth returning for? No.

Special seafood pasta. Not THAT special.

Scaloppine, with mysterious fried log

Tri-color orecchiette-- the only time I've ever seen that

Ravioli 'n' sauce

More limp radicchio garnish

My beets

So, we did what we could, filled our bellies, and made our way out onto the streets to continue (start) our night. It's worth noting that the staff at Zucca was quite friendly, and they accommodated our large party on short notice on a Saturday night with grace and aplomb. Still, Zucca is the epitome of the two Offset Spatula restaurant. While it wasn't bad, in a city such as New York filled with delicious Italian places, I wouldn't necessarily return.

95 Seventh Avenue

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