Bianca Restaurant NYC
Good news travels fast…. sometimes. Other times, apparently, it can take years to reach our ears, even, amazingly enough, when it's about excellent inexpensive pasta in one of our favorite destination neighborhoods! Take Bianca Restaurant NYC, for example. It's been about six years since chef Giancarlo Quadalti and his partner Roberta Riccioli, who have long been delighting Upper West Siders at Celeste, opened the doors of this cozy, unassuming, remarkably low-priced Italian spot on Bleecker Street right off Bowery in Manhattan.
We must have walked by Bianca Restaurant NYC a hundred times since then, but it was only after a flurry of recommendations one day via Twitter that we thought to eat here. Make no mistake: Bianca Restaurant NYC is clearly very well known and adored by everyone in town EXCEPT us, and the wait for a table during prime time can be an hour or more. But we went for the first time a couple of weeks ago, then again a few days later, and are thoroughly smitten.
It was love at first bite for Bianca Restaurant NYC and us, in the form of our first starter, Fegatini con Aceto Balsamico, otherwise known as the best plate of chicken liver we've ever had. Seriously, these plump pieces of offal are unbelievably, melt-in-your-mouth tender, and the deglazing with aged balsamic vinegar adds a wonderful sharp, sweet finish to the richness of the organs, all piled high on crunchy bread soaked in the juices. Also very good at Bianca Restaurant NYC is the Carciofi Fritti, or fried baby artichokes, a crispy, salty snack with a nice hit of soft heart-meat, covered with addictive fried parsley. The only miss in our two visits (and it wasn't even all that bad) was the Carciofini salad, the thinly sliced artichoke overly woody and faintly sour beneath the slices of Parmigiano and lemon dressing.
But as good as our antipasti has been the real star here at Bianca Restaurant NYC is the housemade pasta, almost all priced under $10 (and these are not dainty portions!), the four varieties that have graced our table getting huge raves. A special one evening of Tagliatelle with sausage bites and broccoli rabe was superb, the pasta perfectly cooked with plenty of bite, the sweet funk of the meat balanced beautifully by the bitter greens. The Ravioli di Ricotta, soaking in a buttery sauce and topped with sage, was also terrific, as was the chewy Tagliatelle in a rich sauce of meat, tomato and mushroom… as was the Gramigna (like an orecchiette) with crumbled sausage and red peppers. And did we mention that none of these cost more than a ten bucks? Remarkable. Despite a wave of exciting new openings in the area, Bianca Restaurant NYC is definitely our new pre-Angelika, pre-Sunshine, go-to spot.
Bianca Restaurant NYC Details
Bianca Restaurant NYC is located on Bleecker Street between Elizabeth Street and the Bowery, and is open for dinner every day at 5:00 p.m., until 11:00 p.m. on Monday through Thursday, midnight on Friday and Saturday, and 10:00 p.m. on Sunday. Bianca does not accept reservations and is cash-only. For more details and a complete menu, please see the Bianca Restaurant NYC website.