Downtown Glenwood residents–especially you, in the luxury highrise Manhattan apartments Barclay Tower and Liberty Plaza–may we please introduce you to your new favorite neighborhood restaurant: the simple, pretty, consistently terrific Barbarini. Of course, you might already be well acquainted with Claudio Marini (formerly of Caffe Linda) and Stefano Barbagallo's (out of Paprika) casual Italian spot on suddenly-bustling Front Street: Barbarini Alimentari has been around for more than five years now, and offers several appealing "entry points," including the Mercato, an extensive, first-rate grocery area (meats, sweets, cheeses, pastas, sauces); the Alimentari, a cafe up front with outdoor seating; and the Ristorante, a relaxed, slightly romantic dining room in the back. But just in case, the news is this: Barbarini NYC is well worth a visit or five.
Inspired by the recent wave of unseasonably warm and pleasant weather, we took the advice of some friends and did a little strolling in the "north South Street Seaport" area, specifically on Front Street, which has become something of a tastefully-rustic, non-touristy bar/restaurant-row in the past couple of years. Really: it's wall-to-wall eating and drinking (and both) establishments on this block, between Peck Slip and Beekman Street, almost like Stone Street, complete with cobblestones and plenty of after-work Wall Streeters. Anyway, from the outside Barbarini NYC doesn't look much different than any number of other spots, but we remembered that the great Eater had (somewhat bafflingly) included it on a recent edition of their "38 Essential New York restaurants," so we entered, and ate, and enjoyed.
The Barbarini menu is pretty straightforward: a dozen or so pastas, a handful of paninis (served at lunch only), some salad options, a few sliced meats and cheese plates, a couple of meat or fish entrees. Nothing revolutionary, to be sure, but everything we've had has been skillfully prepared, and it's all reasonably, refreshingly low-priced. Take the Burrata special the other night. Yes, burrata is nearly always amazing, and Barbarini's version of the buttery delight is no exception. But for $12, these generously portioned, crazy-rich clouds of the creamy cheese, served with crisp arugula and decent cherry tomatoes, is a really nice, splitable treat. Speaking of generous portions, the pastas may be inexpensive–all in the low- to mid-teens price range–but they don't skimp on the servings, or the "goodies" therein. Our Spaghetti with Imported Sicilian Tuna was loaded with the oily fish, capers and olives, and the pasta, cooked appropriately firm, stood up to all the salty, vinegary flavors. Barbarini is definitely our new go-to eatery in the area.
Barbarini Alimentari Mercato Ristorante Details
Barbarini is located on Front Street between Beeckman and Peck Slip, just north of the main "South Street Seaport" tourist- and chain-store plaza. Barbarini is open on Monday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., and on Sunday until 9:30 p.m. Note to Glenwood's Barclay Tower and Libery Plaza residents: they do delivery. For more information and a look at the complete Barbarini menu, please see the restaurant's website, here.