In the mood for something new and having heard some good buzz about the restaurant, my boyfriend and I made reservations for Enoteca Barbone tonight. When we entered the restaurant at 9:30, the front room was almost empty, and the person who greeted us offered us a table without asking about our reservation (in fact, when I said we had a reservation, he said it didn't matter). He offered us a seat in the back garden, which was more populated but still not full. The back patio is a great, roomy and quiet space, and the weather tonight was perfect for outdoor dining.
We started the meal with the asparagus fries, which were covered in a "light wine batter" and served with a "pancetta aioli." The fries were very good, and I enjoyed the aioli, but it tasted more like a honey mustard sauce than anything else. I then ordered the ricotta gnocchi with peas and artichokes. The gnocchi were very good, if not outstanding. Although this dish was very hearty, I only had about 10-12 medium-sized gnocchi on my plate. The most prominent ingredients were the artichoke (tender, delicious) and the brown butter sauce that thickly (maybe too thickly) coated every element on the plate. My boyfriend had the pappardelle with braised short rib ragu. The pappardelle were exactly al dente. The ragu was very good, although perhaps too reminscent of barbeque. We (well, I) finished the meal with the secuifreddo--two scoops of almond gelato over which a half shot of espresso was poured tableside. Although the espresso was a bit bitter for my taste, the gelato was delicious.
Our meal wasn't perfect, but it was very good and very reasonably priced (e.g. wine by the quartino for an average of $10). I am excited to go back and see how Barbone develops.