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Manhattan: Bacaro136 Division Street , Phone: 212.941.5060
Reviewed by: Amy from MA, review #3764
Atmospheric Venetian-style wine bar/restaurant with mostly good food, nice wine list, but some unpleasant attitude.
Directions: On the Lower East Side, a tiny street off Canal Street
We really wanted to love this place. It's located in the area of the Lower East Side that's become an extension of Chinatown, next to a bike shop and a Chinese wholesale kitchen equipment shop. The first floor is small, but down a steep stairway you enter into brick and stone small dining rooms lit by candles. Very romantic and pretty. The wine list is good although pricey, and you can get pours in various sizes so you can mix and match wines throughout your meal. The menu is a bit confusing, with a collection of small plates and entrees mixed together, but you can assemble a small or large meal. Prices are fair for new York. Some tables are nicely spaced, the tables for two so crammed together that you might as well be sharing a table for four.
Our waitress was friendly at first, then cooled off considerably. Our first issue was that we wanted to put in an order of two small plates; and then decide if we wanted to go for entrees or more small plates. We were told rudely that the house policy is that the kitchen will only take full orders. So much for a nice relaxed meal. We elected to go with two entrees. Our first order came out, a special of fried zucchini flowers stuffed with ricotta. The coating was much heavier than you'd find in Italy, but they were still tasty. We had ordered the crab salad on a polenta cake, which I had assumed would be prepared as in Italy, dressed simply with lemon and oil. Instead, the crab was engulfed in so much mayonnaise that the crab taste and texture was lost. One entree was excellent, the long-cooked pork shank over creamy polenta. However, the pasta with duck sauce arrived with pasta so undercooked it was crunchy. We politely told our waitress, she responded with a long-suffering "OK", and then whisked the plate away without another word. A replacement was brought a few minutes later, perfectly cooked and very tasty.
We decided to not stay for dessert, as the room was filling up and the table next to us was so close it was uncomfortable having a conversation.
I'd give this place another try, but would go midweek and not on a weekend; and hold out for a better table.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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