NewYork pescatore

Published on May 2nd, 2013 | by Greg


Pescatore: Don’t Pass By!

It is all too easy for a restaurant to get over-looked in the novelty-focused New York City restaurant scene. There’s always a bunch of spots that pop up following the latest trends, whether it’s Asian fusion or homemade meatballs. But there is still plenty of room for the classics, well-made and prepared with care, presented nicely, and with solid service that keep you coming back for more.

That’s what Pescatore offers in a nutshell: fairly traditional Italian with a seafood focus and no compromises. This Midtown East spot offers your classic booths and small tables with candlelight, plus some cafe-style outdoors seating, and a wide menu with plenty of selections for every appetite. We were delighted to swing by for a dinner last week, and had a delightful experience. It’s hard to go wrong with their red wine Sangria ($8) or flatbreads (also called pizzettas) like the Caprino, which combined goat cheese, caramelized onions, spicy coppa and a delicious, unusual fig marmalade for a sweet/savory combination that was pretty much ideal ($14).

Couples and small groups fill the space most weeknights, a mix of banker types and other locals looking for a fairly low-key night out. We recommend stopping by after work in the evenings and grabbing a glass of Sancerre, only one of their dozen or so white wines available by the glass (it’s a flexible wine with a great aroma, not too dry and not too sweet, from Domaine La Barbotaine and $15 a glass). We sampled a trio of appetizers, available for $22 or individually for $8- definitely pick their Parmesan Panna Cotta, a specialty that features a bit of asparagus, tomato confit, and dried olives. The mushroom risotto balls were fairly unimpressive, the only real miss we sampled- not bad, simply uninspired. The fried calamari though, was near-perfection- it can often be over-battered or lack flavor, but here the tempura-style batter was light and flaky and the marinara sauce a great dipping condiment.

Entrees were equally good- a nightly special goat cheese and lamb gnocchi that set a very high bar and will have us returning ($18), and a squid ink pasta that offered plenty of kick. We also tried a dish that often can feel a bit too standard, the grilled tuna ($25). We regularly see publicity images that look quite different from the actual results in the restaurant, but our impressive portion looked pretty much exactly like the picture. And Pescatore didn’t miss the chance to add a little bit extra: the eggplant caponata added some bulk and flavor without being a boring rice or starch, and the basil oil a nice botanical note that was markedly better than the normal overpowering black pepper or lemon/citrus that often coats tuna. We ordered medium rare, and got precisely that.

Service was friendly, approachable, and offered recommendations and suggestions that felt realistic and unforced- a place that felt like they’ll remember you and go the extra mile to make every diner happy. Prices were impressively fair, considering the portions and quality. Even the cheesecake was intriguing, a very memorable combination of Italian and America styles, with a bit of ricotta texture and a bit of the classic New York, lacking much crust but a lovely end to a dinner and a piece large enough to share ($8). Reservations accepted, Pescatore is located at 955 2nd Avenue and is open from noon to 11:30 on weekdays, a bit earlier for brunch hours on the weekend.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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