Mon-Fri, 5pm-11pm; Sat-Sun, 11am-midnight
1, 2, 3 at 14th St.; F, G at 15th St.-Prospect Park
American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard, Visa
Like John Daley, the well-traveled Northern Italian chef Roberto Deiaco has been running a lean operation ever since opening his own restaurant, East 12th Osteria, this spring in the East Village. Deiaco was the executive chef at the Armani Ristorante on Fifth Avenue before abandoning the uptown glitter for a simpler, less encumbered life downtown. Unlike his previous showroom establishment, this one sits anonymously, amid a jumble of bars and cheap-eats restaurants. He and his wife, Giselle, decorated the former bodega space themselves with antique mirrors, a small white marble bar, and reclaimed wooden floors from a farmhouse in Maine. There are potted shrubs outside on the busy sidewalk, and every night, you’ll find Deiaco and his sous-chef back in the kitchen working the stoves.
Maybe that’s why the excellent bread basket at East 12th Osteria is baked fresh and always warm. It’s also probably why the traditional Northern Italian pastas (fat ricotta-filled ravioli scented with truffles, crinkly maltagliati with a chunky Bolognese) have an eggy, handmade quality, and why the fritto di mare tastes like it’s been flash-fried just seconds before. There are slipups, of course. Deiaco’s menu is perhaps a bit too baroque for a kitchen this size, and if the room is more than half full, orders tend to back up and the service takes on a Fawlty Towers feel. But if you persevere, you will be rewarded with unexpected pleasures like bowls of rust-colored guazzetto di pesce (fish stew), tender cuts of lamb loin crusted in bread crumbs and green olives, and a cut of well-aged tagliata di manzo (with bone marrow), which is easily the best piece of steak in this scruffy, vegan-friendly part of town.Ideal Meal
Ravioli all’uovo, tagliata di manzo, tiramisu