I had lunch at Pepolino the other day, and after a very good, very Italian meal I immediately asked myself why I don't eat there more often. Pepolino is the brain child of Patrizio Siddu and Enzo Perrone, two alumni of the famed Florence trattoria Cibreo. The main dining room is a sun-washed, simply decorated room, painted that golden yellow ubiquitous in Italian restaurants in America. Upstairs there is a 50 seat dining room that is good to know about for relatively inexpensive private parties.
Even though it was a gorgeous May day I had the hearty tomato and bread soup and a spinach sformato (savory flan) as starters. The feather-light veal and ricotta meatballs (polpettine) were served with slices of roast potato. Friends had the spaghettini with braised leeks and parmesan cheese and the pappardelle with fresh thyme and tomato. Both were sauced appropriately lightly.
For dessert, the city's best ricotta cheesecake: airy, lemony and just creamy enough. I called it out in my best cheesecake in the city story in the Times a few years ago, and it remains one of Gotham's great taste treats.
When you eat at Pepolino you get fresh, authentically Italian food, made with good ingredients and cooked with care. In short, Pepolino is just what you want in a casual but serious neighborhood Italian restaurant. I wish it was in my neighborhood.
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