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Petit Bouley

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The menu at Maremma is varied and cheap, but given Casella’s facility with big, hearty dishes (his Tuscan spareribs are a specialty at Beppe), many of these recipes promise more than they deliver. The Sloppy Giuseppe is okay (it’s presented on pieces of toast), and so is “Earn Your Spurs,” a rudimentary short-ribs preparation served over a pile of grits. But the excellent-sounding chicken-fried pork turns out to be a pork cutlet muffled in mushrooms and too much melted cheese. The fish dishes (particularly a salty, squid-infused seafood soup called caldaro) all seem overwhelmed in this macho setting, and even my chipotle-spiced meat loaf tasted precooked and thin. In the end, pasta is your best bet, particularly the spaghetti with lamb meatballs, and the pappardelle, which is folded with a rich, chocolate-flavored wild-boar ragù.

There’s nothing terribly rustic or evocative about the desserts at Maremma. The panna cotta is nice and creamy, the way panna cotta is supposed to be. You can also get a good slice of old-time favorites like flourless chocolate cake, a dish far more ubiquitous in New York City than on the wild plains of Tuscany.

Upstairs at Bouley
Address:130 W. Broadway, at Duane St.; 212-219-1011
Hours: Dinner, Monday through Saturday, 6 to 11:30 p.m.
Prices: Appetizers, $6 to $12; entrées, $12 to $21.
Ideal meal: Japanese nanzenji tofu, wild-mushroom salad, Wellfleet line-caught halibut.
Note: The sushi is professionally done, and includes Kobe beef “sushi” gently seared and topped with a crunchy nickel of garlic.

Maremma
Address:228 W. 10th St., nr. Bleecker St.; 212-645-0200
Hours: Dinner, Monday through Wednesday, 5:30 to 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, 5:30 to midnight. Sunday, 5:30 to 10 p.m. Brunch, Sunday, noon to 4 p.m.
Prices: Appetizers, $8 to $12; entrées, $16 to $28.
Ideal meal: “Sloppy Giuseppe,” spaghetti with lamb meatballs, panna cotta.
Note: Do your best to avoid being seated upstairs, where the tables are snug and the decibel level is high.


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