Thursday, April 12, 2012

Il Buco Alimentaria e Vineria

The hospitality of Il Buco Alimemtari e Vineria started on the phone when I called about coming in for lunch. I wasn't making a reservation, I was only a solo diner; but I wanted to see if they served lunch. The lady on the other end explained, "yes, we have everything!" Normally, I consult a restaurants website to inquire about such questions; but their website wasn't too helpful. I think they should definitely update their website with some more information--especially a menu!

I've read multiple reviews on Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria, a spinoff of Il Buco, from critics such as Pete Wells and Ryan Sutton. Wells gave the restaurant three stars in the NY Times while Sutton thought it was overpriced and understaffed. I'm happy to say that my experience was fantastic. Yes, Sutton was right on regarding the price point--a bit high! But the food was delicious and I would definitely go back.

Walking through the door of the alimentari you're eyes go gaga as they position right to the salumi and cheeses. "Most of our salumi are made in house," says the bartender. I sat at the bar in the restaurant section of the establishment. I forget her name, but the bartender was great and exuded hospitality. She wasn't pushy--she respected my decision to drink tap water (how boring!) She made some good recommendations; but they were dishes that I was already attracted to. She was a photography student just out of New Paltz and she "loved food"; but this was apparent.

I started with charred octopus with kumquats, green almonds, olives, yogurt, and farro. The octopus had a beautiful char while remaining tender and succulent. The kumquats added a nice citrus tang while the yogurt and farro were good choices for both texture and flavor. For my main course, I got the slow roasted short rib panini. The panini's base was a baguette made in house and smeared with gorgonzola to add a rich tanginess. An onion agrodolce sat on top of the short rib adding a sweet (not so sour) flavor. The short rib was packed with flavor and reminded me why low and slow is the way to go. Pickled veggies sat in a bowl besides my panini that added a fresh and feel good component.

A cappuccino was all I could have for dessert as I felt in a bit of a food coma. I was a bit disappointed with the strength of the coffee; but the food and service made up for it. Lunch was a bit expensive ($43 + tip) so it wouldn't be a regular spot; but I definitely want to go back to try the house-cured meats and pastas as well. Definitely check it out!