Enrico Malta and Tom Bifulco didn’t need another restaurant. Otherwise known as the New York City Restaurant Group, they practically own the town with Puttanesca, Arte Café, and eleven other places in the city. But the cooking here has elevated this pan-Italian spot from generic neighborhood joint to bona fide dining destination. You can make a meal out of the white asparagus cooked in brown butter, paired with a perfectly poached egg and piles of prosciutto. Or sample the succulent slow-braised rabbit flanked by pieces of grilled white polenta. It’s heavy stuff, however; a steamy summer night calls for the menu’s lighter side, like sautéed octopus with chives and steamed potatoes.
741 Ninth Ave
|Cross street:||at 50th St|
|Opening hours:||Daily noon–11pm|
|Transport:||Subway: C, E to 50th St|
|Price:||Average main course: $17. AmEx|