Enjoy the food. Savor the conversation.

Barbuto (NYC)

775 Washington St, New York, NY 10014 ($$$)

Eat AND Drink. By far my favorite spot in New York to eat, drink and spend time with the ones I love. Nothing better.

Every now and then, I hit Barbuto in New York City's West Village on a perfect day. The weather is delightful, I'm not in a rush, and the world is a perfect place when Barbuto's giant, industrial sized garage doors are open. Although unexpected, this exact scenario arrived for me in late September. We had just eaten at Da Silvano the night before and now I was headed to my food mecca.

We started with cocktails at the bar as we waited for the kitchen to open up so we could plead our way onto a table since we couldn't get a reservation. I often make reservations weeks in advance if I know I'm headed to NYC. We had the Paloma Milano (tequila, campari, citrus soda), The Poppet (vodka, rosemary syrup, lemon, soda water), and the Agua Fresca (watermelon juice, lime, spirit of choice). They were tasty and gave us something to sip on while we consumed copious amounts of cheese and fresh bread. Soon we moved on to this 2014 Nebbiolo d'Alba.

I love Barbuto's unobtrusively open kitchen. Often, restaurants make an open kitchen the main focus so that you MUST stare into it all night. Barbuto's kitchen is open but not in your face. They even have a chef's table in there for large parties that I must try one day - when are 10 of you going to join me in NYC?

We had a pescatarian in our midst so our meal wasn't as focused on meat this round but we still got some in. Luckily, everyone at the the table was so engrossed in their conversation, the atmosphere and fun, that they didn't even notice when I did all the ordering for all four of us!

In no time at all we had in front of us the Polpetta Farcita (stuffed pork meatballs, swiss chard & fonduta), Insalata di Calamari (point judith squid, market greens, chickpeas & chili aioli), and the Insalata Caprese (burrata, heirloom tomato, basil & balsamic). They disappeared very quickly as a second bottle of the Nebbiolo arrived.

Next was a seasonal dish - the Gnocchi Stagionale (cherry tomato, sweet corn & pamesan), the Pollo al Forno (jw chicken & salsa verde), the Patate (potatoes, pecorino & rosemary) and Trota ai Ferri (icelandic trout, fennel, caper berry & gremolata). Jonathan Waxman's chicken is well known. If you visit Barbuto and don't try it, you've truly missed out on something special. That open wood fired oven in the picture a few sections above is where they are all cooked - that chef fires up many a chicken a night!

My happy dinner companions!

Although you know I love to order as many desserts as I can because I love to try them all, at Barbuto there's only one. The Chocolate Budino and I don't share. I think you can understand why.

Another excellent adventure in eating at Barbuto came to an end and we hopped on the subway to head uptown to the theater district. The night had only begun!