There is no shortage of Italian restaurants in New York City. If you stop in your tracks right now you could probably spit on 3 of them from where you are standing. It’s tough to stand out and when I find one that does, it’s exciting for me to write about it. Last night I found myself within spitting distance of the adorable Malaparte Restaurant in the West Village with a large group of friends. This neighborhood restaurant on the quaint corner of Washington & Bethune Street welcomed us with open armed hospitality.
This is one of those places that the local residents don't want you to find out about. I don't particularly want you to find out about it either. It's charming and not totally overrun with hordes of people, yet. The space is small, maybe seats 60 people with a bar and a wraparound patio. The design is rustic & comfortable in a way that makes you warm and cozy on the inside. The tables are filled with large groups drinking wine and couples on romantic dates.
The cuisine is inspired by owner Emanuele Attala's hometown of Rimini on the coast of the Adriatic Sea. This is simple Italian food without a ton of fuss and ingredients. Admittedly, the look of the dishes were so simple that I didn't expect much. This was a classic case of don't judge a book by its cover. We started with 3 vegetable salads- caprese, fennel, and zucchini. Each one chopped and dressed too expertly. From the kitchen poured more plates of pasta than I had ever seen. Carbonara, lasagna, pesto rigatoni, pappardelle with pork ragu. We looked like a table of marathon trainees. Each type of fresh pasta was cooked to perfection and lovingly coated with rich flavorful sauces. My favorite was the talgliolini in porcini mushroom sauce. If I ever learn how to roast a mushroom and make a sauce that perfectly I can just go ahead and die happy. The wine is abundant and they will end your meal with a stellar version of tiramisu. Here’s what we had:
COSTATA DI MAIALE ALLA MILANESE - Pounded Porkchop, Breaded & Sautéd in Olive Oil
TAGLIATELLE AI PORCINI - Rigatoni in a Porcini Mushroom Sauce
SPAGHETTI – Crab Meat, Tomatoes, White Wine
SPAGHETTI ALLA CARBONARA - Spaghetti Tossed with Guanciale, Organic Eggs & Black Pepper
LASAGNA BOLOGNESE - Homemade Ground Beef Lasagna & Tomato Sauce
RIGATONI AL PESTO GENOVESE - Homemade Spaghetti in a Classic Pesto Sauce