1561 Second Ave., 212-744-1100
In this town, neighborhood Italian joints tend to be aged affairs, where the meal plays according to time-honored traditions. At Spigolo, which opened not long ago on Second Avenue at 81st Street, we are happy to report there are no red-checker tablecloths, no shuffling, world-weary waiters, no rattling dessert carts filled with cups of day-old tirami su. Instead, the youthful proprietors Heather and Scott Fratangelo serve up frizzled piles of baby artichokes, veal breast stuffed with pancetta, and bowls of misshapen, impossibly fat gnocchi made with sheep’s-milk ricotta. The tiny brick-walled room is devoid of red checks of any kind, but there is a small wooden bar for neighborhood chitchat and the sipping of predictably excellent Italian wines. The one drawback: All the restaurant-starved Upper East Siders are bull-rushing the joint, so be prepared for a long wait.