Mon-Sat, 8:30am-7pm; Sun, 10:30am-4:30pm
L at First Ave.
American Express, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Right next door to the famous Italian pastry shop Veniero's (established 1894), Russo's Mozzarella and Pasta shop makes its presence known with a painted mural of an Italian meal. Like its neighbor and other notable Italian gourmet stores like diPalo's and Alleva, Russo's has endured for a long time—they opened in 1908. Inside this diminutive shop, you'll find every Italian provision you'd expect—fresh ravioli, tortellini, gnocchi and linguini, cheese, olive oil, and canned tuna imported from Italy, as well as sausage, pepperoni, anchovies, and pignoli nuts. Best bets are the fresh pastas and the large round ravioli in flavors like pumpkin, vegetable, and lobster, as well as the excellent fresh mozzarella with an ideal, pliant texture, oozing with whey, and best eaten right away. The lightly smoked mozzarella is good, but the cheese loses some of its great texture and the smoky flavor doesn't penetrate all the way through to the center. The selection of imported cheeses is narrow, but well selected, though it's all pre-cut in large chunks and wrapped in plastic, treatment that compromises the quality of the cheese. Items you once selected to your desired quantity are now prepackaged in pre-measured portions, but despite the changes, it's good to know that you can still find authentic Italian ingredients in the East Village.