NYC Restaurants

Gente
153 East 45th Street
New York, NY, 10017
212-557-5555 Map

Cuisine: Italian

Menu:   View the Menu

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Cititour Review:
Gente is situated on 45th Street between Lexington and Third Avenues, a block on which I rarely wander. But plenty of other people, ranging from midtown office workers to Grand Central commuters, have already discovered this charming, four-year-old eatery owned by Jay Mitchell, a former clothing company executive and true Italophile.

Like many a true Italian restaurant, Gente aims for simplicity and satisfaction. The black tables are left unadorned during lunchtime, but are gussied up with white cloths at dinner. The walls are decorated with framed photos of great Italian movie stars such as Sophia Loren. And there's an extensive wine-by-the-glass selection, including many vintages that Mitchell discovers on his frequent visits back to Italy. On my visit, he suggested a lovely rose to sip on before lunch, and a Piedmontese red for the main course.


Gente's menu is quite extensive, offering dozens of choices, ranging from salads to panini, pizzas, pastas, and entrees. A generous portion of tuna carpaccio made a nice beginning to my meal, although I was momentarily tempted by the chopped salad featuring both romaine and raddichio along with onions and string beans.


I have always had a weak spot for lasagna, so I tried the house's lasagnette, a perfectly-sized block of pasta swathed in tomato sauce and filled with a pleasing layer of meat. (Cheese lovers will be disappointed by this rendition, but that's there problem.) The house also offers three variations of my other pasta favorites: ravioli; one is filled with ricotta and spinach, another with wild mushroom, and the last with salmon.


Desserts are from the well-known Bindi company, and Mitchell makes a point of having them sent in daily from Italy. I must admit that the Grandmother's Cake, a lemon-and-pine nut confection I have had at many New York eateries, was unusually fresh. But the real surprise was the house's made-on-the-premises biscotti, a plate of chewy nutty cookies that even a real Italian would be impressed by.


Review By: Brian Scott Lipton

Neighborhood: East 40s


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