restaurants
Trattoria Toscana
64 Carmine Street
212 675 8736

There's a shudder that goes through our hearts every time someone wants us to go eat with them in Little Italy. Instead we'd like to direct them here where owner Franco Fazzuoli (Il Ponte Vecchio, Zinno and Cent'Anni) treats everyone like they're Italian family. As such he used to host the Studio 54 crowd (really), the Kennedys and the Reeves and others who just couldn't wait to be enveloped in his hospitality and stories. And the amazing, fresh Northern Italian dishes. A must is the antipasto starter of prosciutto, melon, burrata, filet mignon con salsa verde, a seafood salad of octopus and shrimp, and delicate anchovies atop roasted peppers. Let Franco pick for you and he will direct you to the best pastas on the menu, which include a tagliatelle made with slivers of truffles and a scrumptious pappardelle done with rabbit ragu. Incidentally the verb pappare, from which pappardelle is drawn, means to gobble up and that is exactly what you will want to do. Accomodating as can be, the kitchen also turns out surprise dishes to taste. On our night, a seafood risotto was just the right texture of ricey without being too saucey. Though the pastas are the focus here, the mains are superb as well, such as a steak Fiorentina. Save room for dessert, which includes blood orange sorbet, the natural accompaniment tiramisu and what might possibly the best cheesecake we've had our whole life. The room is nothing to write home about and you can be guaranteed there will be a raucous group having a screamingly enjoyable party next to you because the focus here is living it up with good food.

$$$

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