Il Buco Alimentare

Il buco c
Il Buco Alimentare is the sister to Il Buco that has lived on Bond Street as far back as I can remember.  Il Buco could easily be called a New York institution.  They continue to be packed most nights and have created a unique atmosphere that is like no other place in NYC.  I was certainly looking forward to trying their new addition, Il Buco Cena on Great Jones Street.

A big glass front sits on the street so you can peer straight in to the restaurant and the marketplace in front.  A mixture of old and new.  There are two seating areas.  One is downstairs which seems to be a little more intimate and unique.  Upstairs is perfect for large parties.  There were a few tables of 15 people and that is not easy to find in NY. 

We started with a platter of salumi which is made on the premises.  Some of the salumis were amazing.  Would have been nice to serve that with a few chunks of Parmesan cheese and thin slices of toasted Italian bread.  We asked for the cheese and by the time it came we had polished off the meats and were on to something next.

Crispy artichokes with a preserved lemon dip.  One nice sized bite.  Well done.

Crisp fried baccala (salt cod).  We didn't order this.  What we ordered was the Ricotta Bruschetta which we never got.  The waitress was about to take it away and then our waiter came over and said that he had just ordered it for the table so to keep it.  Looking back that was not the case.  He just didn't listen to what we added to the order.  The salt cod was tasty and light but a little mushy.

Simple green salad.  A mixture of greens right out of the green market. 

Always a fan of crudo.  Raw scallops and uni doused in olive oil with a few greens and thinly sliced radishes.  Exceptional. 

3 olive oils.  One that is their regular olive oil, one from Umbria and one from Umbria with a kick of spice in it.  The ones from Umbria was really delicious.  You could use them in anything and even as a finish and I picked up both when we left. 

Large pieces of grilled octopus over pickled currants.  A nice touch.  Well done and I like the tart of the currants with the octopus.

Roasted lamb ribs.  I have been obsessed with lamb ribs after having them this summer.  They were falling off the bone.  Probably had roasted for hours.  The romesco sauce on top was a little heavy handed on the salt.

Seared quail with brussel sprouts, almonds and a citrus sauce.  This was outstanding.  The quail was juicy and full of flavor and the vegetables were the perfect mixture.  Loved this dish.

Simple roasted acorn squash.  Can't go wrong here.

Surprising that this pasta dish was tasteless.  Cauliflower, anchovies, capers and mint.  I only eat pasta when it is worth every bite.  One bite and I literally put the rest back in the bowl for everyone else. 

Roasted short ribs that are prepared underneath the drippings of pork.  They must cook them down in an oven where pork is prepared on top and it drips into the ribs below.  Quite good.

Of course we tried the gelato.  Spicy chocolate and pear.  A nice combo together and each of them were really tasty. 

Some of the dishes were outstanding while others were just okay.  The service leaves little to be desired.  You shouldn't leave tables waiting for another bottle of wine for 20 minutes.  The tasting of the olive oils shouldn't come after you have finished the first courses.  There is a camaraderie among the staff similar to what you might find in Rome.  A family event.  It works in Rome as the world just operates at a different pace there.  In NYC it doesn't bode well.  The marketplace has great intentions but nothing is labeled.  I wanted to buy a huge jug of one of the olive oils but nobody could find the big size and weren't really sure if they even had it because they couldn't figure it out either.  The person behind the counter who rung me up could care less if I just stood there waiting. They need to get their back of house in gear, label everything appropriately in the marketplace so it just doesn't sit on the shelf but someone actually buys it.  My friend is friendly with the owners and he recommended that we go to dinner so I could write about it so keep in mind they knew I was going to write a post and the service was still bad.  The concept is great and I am sure the dishes will continue to get better over time but hospitality is all about service.  What is interesting is that Il Buco has a website and I can't seem to find Il Buco Alimentare website except for a product placement area on the Il Buco site.  That kind of defines the problem. 

Comments (Archived):

  1. Rohan

    Aye. 😉

  2. Ryan Drew

    Sad to see the high notes of the meal (olive oils, crudo) were sullied by the service.Is the lobster over currants or chickpeas?  Lobster over currants is quite inventive.

    1. Gotham Gal

      not that inventive. i think it was octopus

  3. kirklove

    Bummer it wasn’t killer. I dig Il Buco a ton even if it is overpriced. 

    1. Gotham Gal

      they could fix it and i certainly hope they do

  4. Steve Fried

    ok, so let me add this. i was part of the foursome at this lovely dinner. The space is wonderful and comfortable, but i would have preferred the downstairs space, as a bit more cozy with the open kitchen. The food overall was very@venueczar:disqus good with some high notes throughout. I loved the baccala. smooth texture, simple, clean pretty perfect. in house cured. the octopus was amazing with a perfect texture and a nice mouth feel. Lamb ribs pretty stellar but romenesco quite salty. just needs to be cut down a bit. The crudo which the chef sent out with uni and nantucket bay scallops were absolutely stellar. One of the hits of the night and very sweet of the chef to send this out. The short ribs were tasty and the quail was exceptional.  Seems they are getting there sea legs regarding the service but it was absolutely a fun evening with great food and friends. I am confident that the service will gel as sometimes with new places and large crows, (place was packed) with many large parties, it take s a bit to get acclimated. The place by the way is called Il Buco Alimentari just for clarification. Small note. the salami sandwiches for lunch are made with lots of love and care. could be the finest sandwiches in NYC if you like Salami w Fennal and shaved parmigiano on home made baguettes. this is something i actually have cravings for. Also, we new yorkers are a spoiled bunch. we expect to be served immediately and are used to getting things quickly when ordered. this place for now if a bit laid back w a more european style of service. i will be back soon and i hope Gotham Gals readers will give it a shot…its charming, quaint, and a fun time overall.”Octo Man”

    1. Gotham Gal

      fair enough but the cards and the menu says il buco cena on top.

  5. CCjudy

    You would enjoy Sorcerers Apprentices by Abend about one stage in 2009 at elBulli

  6. ellen

    I wouldn’t mind a doggie bag.