Review - Le Zie (172 7th Avenue @ 20th St, 212 206 8686)
This is a solid neighborhood Italian place, with a Florentine feel. The layout is kind of rambling so finding friends waiting for you can be a little vexing, but it has a nice ambience.
We were seated in the back room , which has a nook for a fountain and a small bar. They allow corkage for $20, with nice Spiegelaus so we brought a couple of decent reds.
They brought some bread and garlic oil out to start while our appetizers were being prepared. The bread was good and went well with my salumi platter ($12). It had some cubes of grilled polenta which were interesting. The ohters had a bean soup ($6) and some carpaccio ($10) which looked ok, but nothing special.
For the main course I had monkfish wrapped in pancetta ($16) which was excellent, and very lobster/scallop like -- crispy on the outside, plump on the inside. However the dish was pretty small, perhaps more akin to appetizer size than entree size. The others had a fish special ($25) and a veal ragu over rigatoni ($15) which looked competent but nothing special.
I liked the place, but would not make great efforts to go back unless I was in the nabe and needed an Italian place at short notice sans reservations.