- Falai Panetteria
79 Clinton St., 212-777-8956
Now that he’s opened his new bakery-café, Iacopo Falai, owner of the eponymous Italian restaurant up the street, has been exposed as the onetime Le Cirque pastry chef he is. It’s a smart move for a destination restaurateur to placate the neighborhood with fresh-baked bread, delicious rustic loaves like the signature black cabbage and the sweetly pungent onion-fennel. We’re most enthused about the focaccia, a variety that’s hit a bit of a slump lately as misguided pizzerias and midwestern chains pumped out fat, flabby squares festooned with all manner of cockamamy toppings. Iacopo redeems the classically dimpled flat bread by keeping it relatively thin and satisfyingly crunchy, embellished with nothing more than a dash of sea salt and drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, delicious the day of purchase and even better heated briefly in the oven.
From the 2006 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine
So what exactly does “best” mean in a city with thousands of pizza joints, hundreds of celebrity masseuses, and museum-worthy concept shops on every corner? Well, in the case of this, our annual “Best of New York” roundup, there’s a heavy emphasis on what’s new or what has somehow remained virtually unheard of (until now, of course).