1 at 23rd St.; C, E at 23rd St.; F, M at 23rd St.
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Gawking is almost required here, and it sometimes seems more important than the food for Il Bastardo's studiously sleek crowd. Onetime executive chef Joseph Cacace, formerly of Rocking Horse and Zocalo, was a Hollywood producer before he was a chef, and it shows in the restaurant's architecture: Mirrored ceilings and a sprawling space encourage stargazing, as do the floor-to-ceiling sidewalk windows and the otherworldly glowing-red forty-foot-long bar. Like a New York City set built in L.A., the incongruously rustic brick lounge in back seems to have brought old-school Italy into an otherwise futuristic setting. Pastas include typical Genovese dishes like gnocchi with pesto, potatoes, and string beans, and hearty rolled-pasta "priest stranglers" with veal ragù. Seafood and steaks make up the majority of the menu's mains and grilled entrees. Cacace may have built a flashy space, but the menu is far more focused—there are no special effects, just fresh ingredients, sparingly flavored dishes, and expertly simple Tuscan cooking.Extra
A wood-paneled VIP party room resides at the back of the restaurant.