NYC Restaurants

Emporio
231 Mott St (Prince St)
New York, NY, 10012
(212) 966-1234 Map

Cuisine: Italian

Menu:   View the Menu

Reader Ratings:

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Cititour Review:

All roads lead to Rome and some lead to the Roman-inspired Emporio, a Nolita eatery that packs them in, especially at dinner, when the crowd skews to a fairly casual group of  thirty and forty-somethings.

The front room is dark with worn brick walls, small candles in paper bags on the scarred wooden tables and a pleasant bar, all meaning to evoke a 1920s Roman  grocery store. In keeping with the restaurant's name, groceries are sold although I've never witnessed any purchases. In back, the larger, brighter room with a large skylight may be a tiny bit quieter but don't come here for a complex chat. Come for the excellent pizzas, the pastas, the small plates and the specials as well as the relatively gentle pricing. Waitstaff is as young as the clientele, cheerily taking orders although not always fully communicating desires to the kitchen (I asked for an appetizer followed by one of the special entrees; both arrived simultaneously.)

Two guys at the next table gave a thumbs-up to the eponymous pizza Margarita with prosciutto, mozzarella and tomato sauce; nearby a group with kids in tow ploughed through several pizza varieties including one with sweet sausage, all from the wood-fired oven.

There are plenty of fried items on the menu including the ubiquitous Frito Misto with calamari, shrimp and seasonal vegetables and risotto croquettes (actually sautéed) with wild mushrooms. Pastas, largely made in-house, are quite good and feature seasonal ingredients like the  burrata ravioli with wild arugula pesto and summer squash and the lasagnette, sort of a deconstructed lasagna, with a veal and prosciutto white ragu and fava beans. Much farm-to-tabling goes on at Emporio with sourcing trumpeted front and center such as chicken from Crystal valley Farm and various steaks from New York's Creekstone Farm. One take on chicken brings the bird flattened by a brick and served with roasted sunchokes which are also available a side by themselves and make a delicious, somewhat offbeat, starter. Recently I ate the quail special which was entirely deboned except for what the waitress called "the wrists"--a bargain at $15.

At this time of year, cocktails include the Summer Thyme with rye, muddled cucumber, thyme -infused wild flower honey and lemon or the Negroni Bianco made "white" by the Americano used. There are lots of beers both on draft and bottled as well as Italian wines by glass or bottle with a special, if small, category of sparkling variations including a Venetian Prosecco. Lunch brings panini pressed into a baguette with a small side salad; a skirt steak salad and the daily selection of cheeses and meats that's also available at dinner. If you want something really sweet to end your meal, order the Nutella calzone for two, the hazelnut spread made even gloppier with the addition of sweet ricotta cheese and vanilla cream with crispy bits of praline. Daily service starts at noon and goes onto 2 AM. 

There is a happy hour with snacks laid out for drinkers. All major credit cards are accepted. Skip crowded Rome and head for Emporio, a noisy, happy spot with good food served in a rustic, laid back atmosphere.

Review By: Mari Gold

Neighborhood: NoLita


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