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Best New Italian Restaurant

BARBUTO
775 Washington St.
212-924-9700

We like trattorias as much as the next person. But there’s still a nagging sense that the Italians, those masters of casual comfort food, haven’t quite perfected the kind of elegant bistro dining practiced by the French. Leave it to Jonathan Waxman, that well-traveled savant of casually sophisticated cooking, to do it for them. His new restaurant, Barbuto, is a stylishly relaxed French-style café, only with fresh pastas and a wood-burning oven thrown in. In clement weather, café tables spill onto the sidewalks, and sometimes they’re even filled with languorous models. But it’s the food that makes the big impression, from the creamy risottos to warm wheels of pizza bianca to lamb chops smothered not in frites (mercifully) but wilted greens and a rosemary sauce spiked with a nice little hit of anchovy.

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