N, R at 23rd St.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
14th St. to 30th St., Third Ave. to Sixth Ave.
This venue is closed.
The room, for the record, is not one of Bar Stuzzichini’s strong points. It’s overly big and poorly lit, and decorated with shades of firehouse red and lots of prefab wood moldings, like some unfortunate marriage between Pottery Barn and a local outlet of Pizzeria Uno. But what the restaurant lacks in style it makes up for with the easy, even artful simplicity of its cooking. Stuzzichini are the Southern Italian equivalent of antipasti (the word comes from stuzzichare, meaning “to pick”), a series of small dishes served, usually, at the bar. This means candy-size rolls of eggplant stuffed with creamy ricotta cheese, gold-brown arancini (rice balls) as big as plums, and artichokes, frizzled in the Roman Jewish style and served on sheets of butcher paper with wedges of lemon. The meatballs aren’t the usual giant cannonballs; they’re bite-size, with a crisp exterior, and the codfish stuzzichini come stacked in little strips, each one fried, like zeppole, in a balloon-thin batter crust. The chef at Bar Stuzzichini is Paul Di Bari (formerly of the Austrian restaurant Wallsé), and he imbues many of the dishes on his sparely edited menu with a light, gourmet touch. There are only five pastas available, but at least three of these (the handmade gnocchi Amatriciana folded in a ragù made with guanciale and onions, the chewy tagliolini alla limone with crunchy bits of pistachio, and the orecchiette mixed with spring peas, sweet onions, and cream) are themselves worth the trip. Order them with the weirdly delicious Scamorza alla brace—smoked mozzarella melted into a crunchy pancake and scattered with olive oil infused with chile pepper.Note
The Italian wine list is eclectic and well priced, and features many wines poured by the quartino, that friend of cheapskate oenophiles everywhere.Ideal Meal
Meatballs, orecchiette with cauliflower, braised short ribs