Sun-Thu, noon-11pm; Fri, noon-midnight; Sat, noon-1am
6, J, M, N, Q, R, W, Z at Canal St.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Leave the red sauce to the other pasta factories on the block and try some of the harder-to-find Northern Italian dishes at this sprawling Little Italy favorite. Many of the better bets don't even have a tomato in sight, like a light, oozy, spiedino alla Romana, fried mozzarella cheese and bread covered in a creamy, lemony anchovy and caper sauce, or the scacciata di salsicce e carciofi, a quiche-like pie with artichokes, sweet sausage, and mozzarella cheese. Showing his adeptness for literally layering flavor, chef Michael DeGeorgio sneaks parmesan, basil, and breadcrumbs into a rolled shell steak in the spiedino di bistecca Lucca, where tomatoes topping the meat add a sweet, slightly acidic edge. But while the food may stand out for the neighborhood, the trappings are full-on Mulberry Street, with statues, Roman columns, archways, and enough greenery for a botanical garden. The ubiquitous dessert buffet especially brings you back to the fact that you are in Little Italy: Il Cortile's brims with zabaglione, fresh berries, and tiramisu. Ending the meal in such a traditional manner is recommended. But look past the red sauce for an otherwise uncommon experience.Extra
With its many rooms, the restaurant is a popular spot for private hire.Recommended Dishes
Scacciata di salsicce e carciofi, $11