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Stuzzicheria, NYC


Stuzzicheria

Executive Chef: Paul Di Bari
Chef: Mike Franzetti
Cuisine: Italian
Neighborhood: TriBeCa
Price: $25-30 per person for food + wine
Phone: (212) 219-4037
Address: 305 Church St, NYC 10013
Hours: Mon-Sun 12 pm – 4 pm / Mon-Sat 5:30 pm – 11 pm / Sun 5 pm – 11 pm
Happy Hour daily 5 – 7 PM: $1 bar snacks, $4 tap beers, $10 quartinos of wine

In August 2010, a Southern Italian trattoria called Stuzzicheria opened in our lovely neighborhood of Tribeca and we were one of the first diners there.  The original restaurant located in the Flatiron district, Bar Stuzzichini, opened in 2007.  “Stuzzichini,” derived from the Italian verb stuzzichare “to pick,” refers to the bite-sized antipasti that are the main attraction on the menu.  Stuzzicheria’s menu also pays tribute to the sampling of many culinary delicacies in the form of small plates, and many of the popular antipasti from Bar Stuzzichini are served here as well.  Most recently, Stuzzicheria has opened a sandwich shop located just adjacent to the restaurant.  Pane Panelle offers a delicious assortment of Italian sandwiches such as my favorite Pane e Panelle (chickpea fritters with ricotta and caciocavallo), meatballs, and other tasty snacks.

Stuzzicheria’s 50-seat space is considerably downsized compared to the lofty 160-seats of Bar Stuzzichini, which owner Gerald Renny dubbed “the mothership.”  The new TriBeCa offshoot still maintains the same simple, rustic interior and chill ambiance as the original.  Patrons huddle close around the dark wooden tables under the faint lighting of hanging old-school Edison lightbulbs; the walls are adorned with photographs of modern day Italian cities.  I say “huddle close” to not only evoke an intimate setting, but also to comment on the acoustics of the space.  It was quite noisy in the restaurant, and my party of 4 people all had to lean in close to hear each other speak.  However, the service was effusive and prompt, and the food was spectacular.

My first visit: we several antipasti, ordered our own main dishes, and shared a bottle of wine from the exclusive Italian inventory.  This was true comfort food that tingled our taste buds and left us (and our wallets) very content.  Stand out dishes for me included the Ricotta & Honey Crostini, Pane Panelle Sliders, ‘Two Ricotta’ Crespelle, and Short Rib Braciole (menu has changed over the year of course!).

I have been a repeat visitor over the past year and have always come away completely satiated and content.  I particularly love the happy hour which features an deliciously economical assortment of bar snacks for just $1 each, including arancino, polpette, panelle (Sicilian chickpea fritters), and juicy marinated olives.  Plus the $10 quartino of vino (about 1.5 glasses) is a great value.

STUZZICHINI

Crostini: Ricotta & Honey
Such a simple but elegant combination of mild ricotta cheese drizzled with sweet honey

Polpette: beef meatballs with tomato sauce
Hands down the best beef meatballs I have ever tasted

Arancini: mozzarella, pecorino, risotto croquettes
Cheesy and dense… I admit I prefer Terroir’s flavor variations of risotto balls though

Sauteed Clams: white wine, garlic, parsley
Fresh light and flavorful!

SIDES

Wild Mushrooms
I will always be a fan of sauteed wild mushrooms with parsley

Carciofi: Fried Baby Artichokes
I love artichokes, but didn’t really love them fried…

PIATTI

‘Two Ricotta’ Crespelle: Bufala Ricotta Crepe
, Crispy Eggplant, Tomato & Ricotta Salata
One of my favorites dishes: the combination of the smooth and mild ricotta melted in between thin layers of crepe, topped with small fried eggplants, tomato, arugula and a sharper shredded ricotta is amazing!

Linguine Vongole: Clams, White Wine, Red Chili 
& Shaved Bottarga
This dish contains a lot of crushed red pepper flakes so it definitely has some serious kick

Ricotta Cavatelli: Sausage & Mushroom Ragu
Quite tasty and not too salty, the spicy sausage and mushroom complement each other well

Short Rib Braciole: Slow Cooked Pizzaiola Style
Very tender short rib perfectly flavored with a hearty tomato sauce, highly recommended!  The photo doesn’t do the taste justice

FROM THE SANDWICH SHOP

“Pane Panelle Sliders”: Sicilian Chickpea Fritter 
Ricotta, Caciocavallo 
on Brioche Rolls
Very cool sliders composed of a fried chickpea “patty” with ricotta and smooth slice of caciocavallo cheese


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