Whenever someone asks for a theater-district restaurant able to accompany a party of 8 or more, I always recommend Becco. Several people have spoken up against this place saying that that the pastas are boring and that it's "not a very chowhoundish place". A return visit last evening proved that Becco was was still going strong and might actually be improving.
We ordered the pasta prix fixe. For those unfamiliar with the place, for $21.95 you can choose to start with either the house caesar salad or antipasta. Then you get unlimited servings of 3 different pastas. The antipasta dishes last night consisted of a plate of excellent grilled vegetables (mushrooms, eggplant, zucchini, red peppers, buffalo mozarella). Good, but nothing spectacular.
However, in addition to the frilled vegetables, there was also a plate of buffalo ricotta drizzled with honey and accented with flecks of black pepper, silken pike fish marinated in extra virgin olive oil and accented with coarse sea salt, tender octopus nestled in a bed of red onion slivers, and salmon crudo. The buffalo ricotta was pure genius--so simple and elementary that I could not comprehend why I was ever hesitant to try such a perfect combination.
The 3 pastas that evening consisted of pumpkin ravilo in a herb butter sauce topped with toasted pumpkin seeds, perfectly al dente shrimp and arugula linguini in with toasted garlic, and a simple but stellar farfalle tomato pasta with basil.
We finished the meal with a dessert sampling of chocolate mousse, panna cotta, cheesecake, strawberries in cream, and an apple-studelish tart.
An excellent meal that may be the result of an improvement in Becco's kitchen or the result of luck. Either way, it reaffirms my faith in recommending Becco for larger parties wishing to keep the costs down. Our meal came out to be $46/person including tax, tip, and 2 bottles of wine. Becco's wine list consisted of an entire page of $20/bottle wines. Yet another bonus.