- Critics’ Pick
- Italian $14-$29
New York, NY 10003
- Neighborhood: East Village
- Phone: 212-220-9100
Bar Primi, which occupies the old Peels space on the Bowery, is Andrew Carmellini’s version of Daniel Humm’s bar-restaurant with a couple of wrinkles thrown in. Like the NoMad Bar, there are two dining levels here, although this one has an actual second story rather than just a mezzanine, which makes it marginally easier to spread out and enjoy a meal with your drink. Instead of upscale burgers and chicken potpies, the bar foods of choice are antipasti and pastas, which look simple enough on the menu but are prepared by Carmellini and his chief pasta lieutenant, Sal Lamboglia, in various inviting ways. There are two bars on the premises at Bar Primi instead of one; the cocktails aren’t nearly as elaborate as those uptown (although, at $12 a pop, they’re much more affordable); and if you happen to find yourself trapped downstairs on a crowded evening, like at NoMad Bar, you may want to cover your ears and call loudly for the check.
Carmellini’s restaurants can take some time to settle into a rhythm, but if you choose wisely and beg for a table upstairs, you can make a nice meal out of the small plates (seafood antipasto, bruschetta with ricotta and figs), the antipasti (cheese-stuffed meatballs “in sugo”), and the simpler pastas. My finicky pasta-tasters considered some of the more elaborate “seasonal” pasta creations to be overthought (the gummy orecchiette, a spinach cavatelli smothered in a little too much veal and Piave cheese), so stick to the more classic compositions (spaghetti pomodoro, a simple linguini tossed with bread crumbs and crisped cloves of garlic), and if it’s Thursday, and you’re in the market for a sturdy meal, call for the blue-plate lamb-chop special, which you can complement with soft, deliciously boozy slabs of tiramisu for dessert.
Mon.–Wed., 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.–11 p.m. Thu.–Fri., 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.–midnight Sat., 10 a.m.–3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.–midnight Sun., 10 a.m.–3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.–11 p.m.
American Express Discover MasterCard Visa
Dine at the Bar Lunch Notable Chef Brunch - Weekend Hot Spot Reservations Not Required Private Dining/Party Space