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Cacio e Pepe in NYC


weinoo
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So, we went to this new restaurant on 2nd Ave. between 11th & 12th, and it turned out to be pretty darn good.

Just the 2 of us, but we shared the eponymous pasta served out of a big wheel of pecorino (very good!), shrimp wrapped in pancetta, a tomato salad and coda alla vaccinara (the classic oxtail stew). I was pretty surprised at how good all the food was and am looking forward to a return visit or 3.

The only downside to the evening was that it was an extremely hot and humid night, so the a/c was barely keeping up and the wait for food was rather long...I'm hoping it was just due to the newness of the kitchen and staff, who were actually quite friendly and nice.

BTW, there is only a tiny bar, so waiting for a table becomes a bit of a juggle, trying to find a place to stand and be out of the way.

It's also great how the East Village has become kind of a home for some of these small, sort of regional Italian restaurants -In Vino, Assenzio, Cacio e Pepe...keep 'em coming, I say.

Anyone else been?

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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No, but I'm intrigued. I just checked www.menupages.com. Their page describes their food as "Creative Roman Cuisine," and their prices are OK: $7.95-10.95 for appetizers, $6.95-10.95 for salads, $10.95-14.95 for primi piatti, $14.95-17.95 for secondi, $6.95-10.95 for dolci. The items on the menu look interesting, too.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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I ate there the other night. As a peccorino fanatic, I longed to try the eponymous dish. It was really amazing, even aside from the presentation. The cheese is almost like a sauce, and with the parsley and the pepper, really makes a beautiful dish. I wish the pepper wasn't so coarse though; the big peppercorn chunks overwhelm the palate too often. Monkfish was terrific too, as was the mozzarella caprese. Standard-issue stuff, I know, but rarely do you get it with smartly prepared and of such high quality at these prices. Go if you get the chance.

Josh

Mr-Cutlets.com: your source for advice, excerpts, Cutlets news, and links to buy Meat Me in Manhattan: A Carnivore's Guide to New York!
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  • 2 weeks later...

Went back for another meal here last night, and am happy to report that the food has, if anything, gotten better..as has the timing from the kitchen - this all bodes well.

Started off with an app of the skewered mussels served over sauteed artichokes -

the mussels have a coating which includes a tiny bit of bottarga before they are cooked - most delicious. Also had the fennel salad with tiny "nail" mushrooms simply dressed with evoo and lemon juice.

For mains, my wife had the spaghetti with guanciale, pecorino and black truffle, while I opted for the roasted cornish hen which comes along with sides of haricot verts and roasted potatoes. The pasta was outstanding - a goodly amount of guanciale, perfectly al dente and delicious...these guys really know how to cook pasta (as an aside, I had lunch at Barbuto last week, and my pasta was both overcooked and oversauced - not that good!). The cornish hen was tasty, crispy and moist and the sides are a bonus - at $14.95, this main is a great deal.

I spoke with one of the owners, Alessandro, who told me they would be tweaking the menu a bit for the fall - I can't wait to see what they have up their sleeves. this place gets a good thumbs up once again.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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  • 4 months later...

I went with a friend tonight. The friend didn't eat much but did taste things and was great company. In short, we loved the place. We had a real candle, not one of those little votive oil lamps (which can be fun in the right place), brown paper placemats were on the table, and the place just generally felt like a genuine, relaxing Italian trattoria.

We started off by sharing:

Polenta morbida con calamari in guazzetto di uvetta, pinoli e bacche di ginepro (Soft polenta topped with a calamari, raisin, pine nut, and juniper berry stew -- $9.95).

The polenta was moist and tasted very corn-like, not like a dry bunch of undifferentiated starch. The calamari strips in the middle of the dish were delightfully soft. The flavors and textures blended delightfully.

My friend ordered:

Insalata di rucola selvatica, mele rosse, e scaglie di parmigiano (Wild arugula and red apple salad topped with shaved parmesan cheese -- $7.95).

I tried some of the salad, and it was good.

I got the following for a Primo Piatto:

Paccheri con ragu bianco di quaglia, porcini, tartufo nero e mirtilli (Jumbo rigatoni tossed with quail ragu, porcini mushroom, black truffle, and blueberries -- $15.95).

I was fascinated by the unusual idea of using blueberries in such a dish. It was very mushroom-/truffly, with a nice brown sauce and the blueberries were an interesting addition to the dish. I was not offered fresh pepper or chesse with the dish and did not ask for them; I think they only would have unbalanced the interesting blend of flavors.

My Secondo Piatto was:

Petto d'anatra con uva e pepe nero in salsa di vino rosso con sformatino di melanzane (Breast of duck with raisins and black pepper in a red wine sauce served with an eggplant and chocolate flan -- $17.95).

This was fascinating, a slightly sweet eggplant/chocolate flan served in a savory dish (and I didn't noticeably taste the eggplant, which was more of a textural element but undoubtedly had a major effect on the overall taste of the flan). In my opinion, it worked. The duck breast was mostly rare and a bit chewy, but I liked it, as I liked the whole dish.

For dessert, we shared:

Gelato all'olio di oliva con cestino di parmigiano e miele (Homemade olive oil flavored ice cream served in a basket of parmigiano and honey -- $6.95).

My friend was very skeptical of the idea of olive oil gelato, but of course I know that many eGullet Society members have raved about the olive oil gelato at Otto (a place I have yet to visit). The waiter assured us that this was a good choice, and said that the olive oil is subtle and mostly an aftertaste. I agree. It was essentially good vanilla ice cream with an extra virgin olive oil aftertaste, and it went well with the parmesan cheese, which had been melted and then congealed. There was less of the honey, but that was another interesting taste (it was kind of strong-tasting honey, around the circumference of the plate).

We both had glasses of a delicious Primitivo from Puglia with the meal, a recommendation by the waiter.

The meal was not cheap, partly a function of the wine at $8/glass and largely a function of my wanting to have a full-course meal for my first time there. The total bill was $82 and change plus tip. But what made it most worthwhile is that I consistently chose the most unusual-sounding dishes (for Primo, Secondo, and Dolce), and they were all winners.

Based on one trip so far to each, I find Cacio e Pepe comparable in feeling and quality to Bianca, despite the different regional cuisines ("creative Roman" at Cacio e Pepe, Emilian at Bianca). I had a great time and look forward to exploring more of their menu, especially as it changes with the seasons.

By the way, I used the menupages.com page for Cacio e Pepe for reference, and the menu viewable there seems to totally match up with the one I looked at at the restaurant.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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I can't believe that menu is at an Italian in the East Village.

Can't wait to try it.

-MJR

�As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy, and to make plans.� - Ernest Hemingway, in �A Moveable Feast�

Brooklyn, NY, USA

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I can't believe that menu is at an Italian in the East Village.[...]

Why is that hard to believe? The East Village has had good Italian restaurants for some time and is increasingly full of them.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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  • 5 years later...

Was watching TONY B on No Reservation's tonight and he was eating cacio y pepe in a supposed secret location in ROMA, what is the name of this place? Anybody know? I NEED TO KNOW NOW!!! Furthermore anyone have a knockout recipe for cacio y pepe? Who makes the best cacio y pepe in NYC?

"I bid you peace, until we meet again"

~Frugal Gourmet Jeff Smith

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Cacio e pepe is made well at both Lupa and Maialino. The restaurant Cacio e Pepe in the east village also does a good job, even though their focus is Sicilian.

Gourmet (RIP) ran an article quite a few years ago and here's a link to that recipe. Make sure you get some high quality pecorino cheese. Cook's Illustrated did one of their in-depth articles on the dish, and, iirc they used a little cream, which is not how the dish is classically made in Rome, though I think they used some butter on the show last night.

cacio e pepe

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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I was hoping that somebody here would've brought this topic up, so thanks. I thought that carbonara they had looked pretty killer too. To my eye it looked like both dishes used fresh pasta. I just thought that both pastas looked more absorbant than a dry pasta. Think this makes a difference?

I would kill everyone in this room for a drop of sweet beer...

Homer Simpson

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I am not an Italian American ala Olive Garden (YKKKKK) fan of Carbonara but the on NO RESV looked freaking sick (good sick that is).

Anyone have a recipe for that as well, authentic as possible of course...

How can I get a hold of that episode, on demand or web?

"I bid you peace, until we meet again"

~Frugal Gourmet Jeff Smith

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In order to be able to ascertain the facts, I went to Lupa with a friend last night and had, you guessed it, the cacio e pepe. Outstanding.

The cured meats were great too. Meltingly tender veal tongue along with the wonderful testa, speck, prosciutto, and 2 types of salumi - and excellent platter for only $20.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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  • 2 weeks later...

I actually have a recipe I saved from GQ back in Feb '05, and it comes from Mark Ladner back when he was the chef at Lupa before moving to Del Posto. He calls for dried pasta, salt and pepper, equal parts butter and olive oil, and a mix of Pecorino Romano and Parmigiano-Reggiano. I've made it and it's pretty close to Lupa's, I assume the difference was mainly user, ie my, error. Lupa is my favorite anywhere, although I have not triad Maialino's. I have the recipe scanned in my email, but probably not kosher to post it here I suppose.

Also note that Batali's Eataly opened yesterday, I went by today and noticed they offer Cacio e Pepe at the pasta place in the complex. Didn't get to try it but presumably it would be similar to Lupa's; at least that's what I'm hoping.

DSC01325sm.jpg

Ed aka Wordsmithing Pantagruel

Food, Cocktails, Travels, and miscellany on my blog:

http://www.wordsmithingpantagruel.com/

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I spoke with M. Batali briefly last night telling him that my last two meals at Lupa (over the past month) were some of the best I've ever had there. And I asked him who was cooking there.

To paraphrase, Mario said: "Cruz Goler, and he's really on fire right now..." Dude...yes, he is.

Of course, the "classic" cacio e pepe has neither butter nor olive oil. But to each his own. And I'm sure it comes out better and more consistently in the restaurant because of the butter. And, though I don't have it in front of me, CI did a cacio e pepe article and I believe they add milk to help with the breakdown of the cheese..

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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  • 3 weeks later...

at sd26 recently we mentioned that the cacio e pepe was room temperature. the bartender went and got ms may who explained that this is how it's traditionally served in rome.

maybe so, but i greatly prefer lupa's.

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at sd26 recently we mentioned that the cacio e pepe was room temperature. the bartender went and got ms may who explained that this is how it's traditionally served in rome.

maybe so, but i greatly prefer lupa's.

I've never had it that way in Rome, and I've had it in Rome more than a few times.

Sounds like ms was unwilling to take the blame and was spewing bs.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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