gnocchi nirvana at Apizz
Apizz is a hidden gem when it comes to Lower East Side restaurants. heavenly food, a rich and warm atmosphere, great service, and tucked away enough so that, although it’s usually full, it doesn’t get the crazy and busy scene ‘inoteca and others do (and they take reservations.) we’ve dined there several times since they opened in 2002. at first the food was off to a slow start, but we’re happy to report that on our last couple trips just about everything was excellent!
and last night we discovered a dish that embodies the term “to die for” – Gnocchi con Ragu di Carne…
homemade gnocchi with the perfect sublime texture, covered in a rich and slow cooked tomato sauce loaded with braised short rib meat that’s incredibly tender and has a deep beefy flavor, and topped with a superb grated pecorino. the best Gnocchi dish we’ve ever had.
most of the menu features food either fully cooked or finished in the beautiful wood burning oven that’s open at the front of the restaurant. more great dishes last night included: a fantastic appetizer of lightly fried asparagus, zucchini, and cremini mushrooms served with fresh lemon and a caper mayonnaise ( finished in the wood burning oven giving the vegetables a lovely smoky depth.) a whole sea bass wood smoked with lots of thyme and rosemary, served with a wonderful herb sauce, and a big arugula and tomato salad on the side. and a crispy chicken fillet with the same perfect arugula salad and shaved parm on top, sounds simple but this was an exceptionally bright and flavorful dish.
other highlights of dining at Apizz – the room is beautiful and romantic, tons of brick, raw wood, exposed beams. the head chef cooks everything in front of the room in the large brick fireplace, surrounded by fresh ingredients, bottles of high end olive oil, etc. service is excellent. a nice selection of Italian wines are listed by region, many great wines in the $30 range. and before the meal they bring out some of their wonderful chewy and crusty bread, with a dish of excellent ricotta and the server comes over to your table with a big crock of yummy tomato sauce and ladles it into a bowl on your table. so good, we could make a meal out of it.
the mussels, calamari, wild boar lasagna and many other dishes are also excellent. we’ve found the meatballs to be a bit plain. and while the pizza is very good, not rave-able. and they seated us for our 7:45 reservation at 8:20 – ouch.
more NY Gnocchi info … we’re a gnocchi lover, if it’s on the menu we’re getting it. and Apizz’s version is now officially our NYC favorite! some other great versions around NY (for fellow lovers): the simple and incredible ricotta gnocchi at Lupa, Uncle Tony’s gnocchi at Frank’s (made with basil, marinara and fresh mozz), and the gnocchi in white truffle sauce at Assenzio (menus and directions for all can be found on Menupages.com) And for the very best NY chow talk and some in depth Gnocchi discussion, check out Chowhound.com (we’ve heard from the ‘hounds that Hearth has a slamming version.)