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On a recent Sunday night at 5:30pm, I strolled into the Williamsburg eatery, without a reservation, optimistic I could squeeze in at the kitchen counter. Light flooded into the airy space, reflecting off the white brick walls and onto the light-wood counters, as a line of patrons stood, waiting to see if they could do the same.
It was a relief to secure two seats for 7:45pm, since, for the next month, the reservation system’s earliest available tables are at 11pm. If you run into a similar waiting game, you can always do what we did: Walk across the street to the waterfront Domino Park, where you can grab a drink and people-watch, all while admiring the Manhattan skyline.
By the time we returned, the setting sun had transformed the restaurant’s atmosphere, the now dimly lit dining room creating an intimate vibe for our meal. All eyes focused on the immaculate open kitchen, where chef-owner Missy Robbins, sporting a chic army-green jumpsuit, was sending out bowls of pasta.
The menu comprises 10 vegetable antipasti and 10 pastas, and I highly recommend getting as many of both as your stomach can handle. An uncomplicated salad of shaved fennel and celery was balanced with sharp Parmigiano and a tangy vinaigrette for a dish that hit all the right flavor and texture notes. The vibrant veggies didn’t stop there: Beautifully tender chanterelles in olive oil sang with rosemary and garlic, while grilled baby artichokes got a pleasant kick from mint salsa verde.
Life is about balance, so it’s only fitting that these light-and-bright starters were matched with rich, filling pastas. The fettuccine was the simplest, and it will be the best bowl of noodles you’ll have this year, hands down. Riding the cacio e pepe train that has thundered through almost every Italian eatery in the city, this one tops them all with perfectly al dente noodles in a velvety pool of cheese and pepper.
Spinach-and-mascarpone–stuffed tortelli in brown butter were like little pillows of decadence cut by the salty bite of shaved ricotta salata. The linguine with anchovy, garlic and colatura (an Italian fish sauce) was the funky, acidic bowl to counter all that butter in the heavier pastas.
After all this indulgence, you may as well double down on dessert. When our glasses of toasted-almond and olive-oil gelato arrived, our absolutely flawless meal was complete. Simple, thoughtful dishes in a casual, fun space make for a feast I won’t forget anytime soon. Missy, you can send us your noods anytime you want.