It's a Date!
by Fiorella Valdesolo, New York Observer contributor, 12/08/2008
57 W. 10th St. • 212-460-8017
The measure of an Italian trattoria can be taken by two factors: The ragu and how the pasta is cooked. Piadina earns high marks on both counts. The restaurant's rustic subterranean space features long stretches of exposed brick, mounted farm tools, and an alcove shelf stacked with colorful Le Creuset-style earthenware. Dozens of wooden spoons dangling from the ceiling sway as handsome Italian waiters in matching T-shirts swoosh by, plates of food stacked on their muscular arms. It's all as resolutely un-fancy as the cuisine, which originates from the Emilia-Romagna region of Northern Italy. The best meals begin with the restaurant's namesake dish: Two paper-thin half moons of unleavened bread, the stuffings highlighted by a trio of gooey cheeses and peppery arugula. While the secondi are passable, Piadina fares better in the pasta department. Orrechiette are dotted with chunks of fennel-filled sausage and chewy broccoli rabe, tubular garganelli swim in a rich, cream-based sauce with fresh peas and prosciutto cotto, and the aforementioned tagliatelle al ragu is kept simple, and deftly executed. Portions are generous by New York standards, so dessert may be an afterthought. It shouldn't be. The profiteroles, made with cream instead of ice cream and coated with chocolate sauce, and the affogato al caffe, which should be ordered with hazelnut instead of the traditional vanilla gelato, are both worth saving room for.
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