Just when it seemed like the South Street Seaport was hitting its non-touristy stride, with restaurants and bars serving–and making happy!–an influx of new residents, well… that's when Sandy struck, and basically shut the whole thing down.
A year later there are still too many spaces in the area around Front Street that remain shuttered, but one piece of excellent news is this: Barbalu, run by half of the team behind Barbarini Alimentari, has just reopened in that same space, and it makes for a terrific neighborhood Italian spot.
Bringing Life Back to Front Street
I went to Barbalu on the one-year anniversary of Sandy, and it was nice to see a few tables worth of locals joining me. Barbalu's husband-and-wife team Stefano Barbagallo and Adriana Luque will need people to come out specifically to dine in their pretty, cozy room, as foot traffic on that stretch of Front Street is still pretty minimal at this point, and it's only going to get less busy as the cold weather kicks in. But trust me, eating at Barbalu is no charitable pity-play. Like its predecessor Barbarini Alimentari, the kitchen here really knows what it's doing, turning out solid Italian classics, using quality ingredients, all prepared with love.
Classic Italian Prepared with Love
I had a quick two-course dinner for about $35 with tip, and it was totally satisfying. From the salad section of Barbalu menu–which, by the way, is pretty similar to the old Barbarini Alimentari menu–I ordered the Spinach, Gorgonzola, Crispy Pancetta option, and was rewarded with a big pile of bright greens, generously mixed with thick, creamy cheese and chewy ham. A solid choice. And my pasta was a true winner, Spaghetti Alla Chitarra (thick-ish and al dente) with Sausage Alla Norcina (white- sauced and rich), which hit all the correct comfort-food notes. Barbagallo and Luque are working on opening the larger dining room next door before the end of year, but Barbalu is already near the top of my list of area restaurants.
More Information: Barbalu Restaurant
Barbalu is located on Front Street between Beekman Street and Peck Slip, and is open daily from 10:00 a.m. (there are a lot of appealing-sounding sandwiches on the menu) to 10:00 p.m. Visit them online for more information and a look at the complete Barbalu menu!Tweet