Villa Pazzo

Restaurants, Pizza West Village
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The first non-Indian restaurant to occupy this cursed West Village corner has been desperate for traffic since the day it opened. The decor, menu and prices seem designed to drive away diners, but all is not lost. We offer these tips to the management: First, gut the menu. With more than 50 dishes available, Villa Pazzo’s sprawling options inspire vertigo, not hunger. Second, simplify. Chef-owner A.J. Black offers oddball dishes that reveal a creative but misguided (and booze-addled) spirit. He adds Sambuca to chicken, Dom Perignon to veal scaloppine. Simpler, more accessible entrées indicate this guy can, in fact, cook. While his penne à la vodka tastes like it’s been hitting the bottle too hard, the sauce pops with fresh tomato flavor and the pasta is nicely al dente. And though his veal saltimbocca is overly salty, the meat is tender and the flavors are clean. Other suggestions for the top brass: Whitewash the walls and start over with the decor. Those colorful squiggles and swirls on the tables, walls and ceiling are even more dizzying than the menu. And candlelight does little to soothe the fun-house effect. Finally, for heaven’s sake, change the music. The soundtrack, which lurches from West Side Story to Céline Dion, had us requesting the check before we could even think of dessert.


Venue name: Villa Pazzo
Address: 296 Bleecker St
New York
Cross street: at Seventh Ave South
Opening hours: Daily 11:30am–11:30pm
Transport: Subway: 1 to Christopher St–Sheridan Sq
Price: Average main course: $19. AmEx, MC, V
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