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In the good old days like five years ago Petrosino would have been called a destination restaurant; after all, what reason was there for anyone to be on Norfolk Street? But with the Lower East Side having morphed into one of the city's hottest residential neighborhoods not to mention a new haven for tourists the crowd at this simply designed, delicious Italian restaurant is a mix of folks from near and far. And without question, chef Patrick Nuti's assured cooking, owner Antonio Bellomo's wonderful wine list (if he's there, make sure to ask for suggestions) and Petrosino's fairly gentle prices make it worth the trip.Review By: Brian Scott Lipton
If you've never tried octopus, Nuti assuages your fear by combining chunks of the seafood creature with a friendly combination of couscous, potatoes and peppers. A simple salad of mixed greens and artichokes is made wonderfully complex by a lovely chive vinaigrette. Our favorite starter, however, turned out to be an evening's special of fabulous duck prosciutto accented by artichoke hearts and green grapes.
If there is one area in which Nuti truly excels, it's pasta. Homemade trofiette coated in truffle butter and parmesan and entangled with shiitake mushrooms is nothing short of sublime; while cavatelli in a luscious veal ragout and rigatoni butera lavished with a sauce of Sicilian sausage, fresh peas and a touch of cream were both mouth-filling treats.
Even heartier was a plate of two dense polpettine meatballs made with ground chicken, ricotta and parmesan accompanied by a too-good-to-be-true mound of soft polenta. Menwhile fish fanciers are best served by an excellent slab of sautιed monkfish -- which gets a slight bounce from the use of fennel pollen -- rather than the pedestrian if pleasant cod.
There's nothing pedestrian about Petrosino's desserts nowhere else have I sampled a buffalo ricotta and nutella cheesecake, which tastes a lot better than it originally sounds.
A chocolate-chili budino, somewhere between a warm cake and a pudding, also hits the spot, especially on these chilly winter nights.
Neighborhood: East Village
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