Restaurants & Bars 3

Prezza again

MC Slim JB | Jun 17, 2006 10:37 AM

Another in a string of very solid performances from one of my favorite North Enders. Great cocktails at the bar to start, one of two places in the neighbhorhood that bother on this score (Lucca's the other). An antipasto of fresh-fava arancini with lobster and mascarpone is very, very rich. Another of grilled skirt steak is a huge portion, beautifully charred, with roasted sweet onions and sweet/sour figs, superb.

Corn raviolini are little things with lots of teeny shrimp and bits of pancetta and more corn. Spring pea ravioli are bigger, with bits of ham and mascarpone. These two pastas are obviously freshly made, unshowy but delicious, perfect midcourses. A side of asparagus is a huge pile with nice wood-grill smoke flavor in them, covered with thin sheets of pecorino. Lamb rack shows off the kitchen's chophouse side; it's less a rack than one massive chop, in a rich red wine sauce. They really do a lovely job with wood grilling here.

A strawberry-filled rhubarb tart is fine, not too substantial, just right after a lot of food. Fernet Brancas all around are in order, too, as portions are very substantial, almost too much, though I've learned to order more adeptly (I get an app, a 1/2 of pasta, and another app, which I still can't come close to finishing). Our host splurges on some superb Brunellos, but I could easily have found some respectable wines in the $25-45 range. It's refreshing to see that breadth; so many similarly-priced places in town largely ignore the folks who might not be comfortable dropping $60-100 or more on a bottle of wine.

Very solid service, good kitchen pacing on a packed night. Expensive: $15 apps, full pasta orders $25, entrees $26-40, desserts $10. But Prezza is very consistent, takes reservations, has parking, has serious bartenders, has a very good wine list and serves dessert. It's an easy place for me to recommend.

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