Sun-Thu, 5:30pm-11pm; Fri-Sat, 5:30pm-11:30pm
1, 2, 3 at 14th St.; F, M at 14th St.
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
8th St to 18th St., University Pl. to Eighth Ave.
A dark, romantic, and rustic dining room with red walls and low ceilings indicates that this Italian ristorante aims for a date crowd. Sophisticated and seasonal home cooking offsets the portion size (small) and price range (high). If you’re lucky, you’ll be there when the owner’s mother, Katerina, is in from Italy, hand-rolling the pasta and stuffing ravioli in the front of the restaurant. The homemade quality comes through in the subtle flavor and texture of the filling (ricotta and chard in the summer), which, combined with the delicate butter-and-sage sauce, melts in your mouth. Gradisca pushes the envelope by making seasonality the star of unusual combinations. Pork loin comes dressed with white peaches and Parmigiano fondue (with undersalted spinach on the side), for a beautifully bright and fresh dish. They don’t mess with dessert, however: Tiramisu is smooth and rich with espresso, and still fluffy.Tasting Menu
Six-course tasting menu, $80.Recommended Dishes