Fatty ‘Cue West Village: Better Than the Brooklyn Original?
Chef Zakary Pelaccio and his kitchens of mad-genius chefs have whipped up some of our favorite meals of the last few years: at the original Maylasian-y Fatty Crab on Hudson Street, and then the Upper West Side version of the same. The temporary "ham restaurant," Fatty Johnsons, where his late lamented taco spot Cabrito also once wowed; and at the great Fatty 'Cue in Williamsburg, at which we've feasted many times on plate after plate of deeply-satisfying smoky delights. Last fall Pelaccio and crew opened a second Fatty 'Cue, this time in Manhattan, on Carmine Street (where Cabrito and Fatty Johnson's once resided), and they've been packing in the crowds and getting rave reviews ever since.
We finally made it to Fatty 'Cue West Village on Carmine Street the other night, just to try a dish or two and to satisfy a too-long-simmering craving for Zakary Pelaccio's explosive flavors. The verdict? The West Village Fatty 'Cue is terrific, the room slightly more grown-up than its Williamsburg counterpart (though Pelaccio's currently renovating across the river, so we'll see…), the menu totally appealing and featuring several dishes you won't find in Brooklyn. For example: the Buttermilk Pappardelle with Smoked Goat Ragu. At first we felt a little sad by the smallish portion (especially for $24… the only problem with all of the Fatties: everything is about five dollars more than you want it to be), but all was forgiven once we tucked into this beauty: the dense, chewy pasta and rich, gamey meat combined with salty cheese, sweet peppers, and fiery chilies… it's like a party in your mouth that lasts exactly as long as it should. If this were any bigger, we'd be waddling home.
The other dish we tried was a Williamsburg Fatty 'Cue favorite, Broiled Sardines, smoked (what else?) and charred until the skin is crispy, the flesh firm and juicy, and, with its accompanying "sweet and sour" radicchio leavers and crostini smeared with a spicy/sweet chili-lardo-raisin, the plate is a showcase for complementary textures and flavors. And when you think you've finished with your fish, the real magic begins. The Fatty 'Cuers take away the heads, tails and bones, deep fry it all, then return it to you with a side of spicy sauce. If you've never had deep fried fish bones (and heads, and tails), you are in for a real treat, as the texture completely changes–it's remarkably light and crackly–with all of the intensity you'd expect from these traditionally stock-making parts. This–and, really, everything about places like Fatty 'Cue–is why we love great restaurants: we get to eat delicious food that we'd never make at home. Highly recommended.
Fatty 'Cue West Village details
The Fatty 'Cue in Manhattan is located on Carmine Street between Bleecker and Bedford Streets, and is open daily from 5:00 p.m. until 12:00 midnight. On Thursday through Sunday, Fatty 'Cue also serves a Late Night menu from 12:00 midnight until 2:00 a.m. For more information about all things Fatty, including a look at the 'Fatty Cue menu, please see the restaurant website, here.