Il Buco Alimentare
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.