Mon-Fri, noon-4pm and 6pm-midnight; Sat-Sun, noon-3pm and 6pm-midnight
6 at Spring St.
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
This venue is closed.
Civetta, which has been open since the summer of 2009, is a partial, somewhat confused spin-off of Sfoglia, Ron and Colleen Suhanosky’s tiny, polished, rabidly popular restaurant on the Upper East Side. Ron Suhanosky consulted on the menu, the kitchen is being run by one of his former chefs, and the man in charge, Lou Ceruzzi, is one of the partners at the uptown restaurant. But there’s nothing quaint or Sfoglia-like about the room at Civetta, which feels big and shambling and half-put-together. There’s a generic store-bought quality to the decorations, which include steel chandeliers made from wine barrels, low, curved taverna-like ceilings, and tables and chairs made of thick polished wood in the familiar neo-rustic Tuscan style. A strange, half-empty lounge area lurks downstairs, complete with faded red pillows and an abandoned D.J. booth. The service in both spaces alternates between hectic and nonexistent, and when you sit down to dinner, you can feel the steady rumbling of the No. 4 train under your chair.
When I first visited the restaurant, the kitchen seemed to be in a similar state of disarray. But the menu has been edited recently, and if you choose wisely, it’s possible to have a decent meal. The new antipasti list includes strips of house-cured tuna scattered with toasted almonds, and little arancini filled with ground sausage and melted Fontina cheese. The dreckish, funky version of Sfoglia’s famous sea-urchin pasta (scattered with black sesame seeds) has disappeared, replaced by less racy, more manageable dishes like soft gnocchi tossed with roasted mushrooms, and tubes of rigatoni smothered in a creamy Bolognese. The stolid, home-style entrées (gently cooked osso buco, sweet sausages over lentils, good, crunchy-skinned chicken al mattone) are all better than the greasy pork cutlet I ordered this summer. Best of all, though, are the desserts, particularly the bread pudding, which is laced, in Colleen Suhanosky’s trademark style, with caramel and a faint, uptown hint of citrus.Note
The Italian wine list is moderately priced, and surprisingly deep for a restaurant this size.Ideal Meal
Gnocchi with roasted mushrooms, chicken al mattone, caramel bread pudding.