Mon-Thu, noon-10:30pm; Fri-Sat, noon-11pm; Sun, noon-10pm
1 at 86th St.; B, C at 86th St.
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
79th St. to 96th St., Central Park West to Riverside Dr.
Italian cuisine with a crowd-pleasing American bend (salmon, pastas with goat cheese) defines this typically Manhattan spot, packed with families toting young kids and 40-something couples. Dishes aren’t complex, and the kitchen is usually reliable with the basics. Chicken parmesan is done right: two thin, crispy breaded cutlets smothered in marinara sauce, with mozzarella oozing over the sides. Pasta dishes, including a satisfyingly big bowl of rigatoni alla norcina—with chunks of spicy Italian sausage in tomato sauce—are deservedly popular. Step up to the plate when the chef throws a curve ball, like the grilled skirt steak with tangy Argentinian chimichurri sauce, but be choosy at the antipasti table. (The mozzarella can be grainy and dry.) The space itself is airy, with cashew-colored walls and a colorful painting of the map of France. This is a quintessential neighborhood place, after all, where the mood is don’t-rush-me, and the food is improved simply because it’s around the corner.Recommended Dishes
Rigatoni alla norcina, $12.95; grilled skirt steak, $17.95