I am visiting NY next week from LA.
I love italian food. Even though LA isnt world famous for its offerings, I really think we have a lot of great food offerings out here. Even though Batali's Osteria Mozza in LA is far from my favorite, I am willing to give Babbo a try here in NYC. Aside from that I dont know where else to go, and I would love to eat Italian 3-4 times while in the city.
Batali might be the most famous italian chef in NYC, but not necessairly the best. Are there other secretly awesome italian places that cook modern italian fare that they locals strongly prefer? Are there any rising star chefs still under the radar that are being very experimental with the cuisine?
I really like restaurants that are more modern but casual-ish. Wine bars, enotecas, and other restos are great too if the food is italian inspired and delicious.
I also favor really great appetizers, smaller-plates, and pastas over large heavier courses.
I know NY has hundreds of great italian restos, but I would like someone who cooks with the same updated and modern spin as Batali.
PS: I think Pizzeria Mozza is the best pizza I have tasted in this country. If any NYers have been to Pizzeria Mozza in LA and know of a better place to get pizza in NY, please let me know. I have heard Otto doesnt really measure up in the pizza department.