194 Elizabeth St.
In the daylight, when the wood-burning ovens are cold, the high-ceilinged, openroom looks like a half-raw downtown loft space. But something magical happens toPeasant at night, when the redbrick arches on the far wall frame the openkitchen’s flames, votives are lit, and a corona of soft, diffuse light glowsfrom behind the mirrors. Peasant gets sexy. Not kitschy-coo romantic, orlounge-lizard lusty, but sexy. With his rustic, big-flavored, shareable cooking,chef-owner Frank DeCarlo stokes our anticipation. Pearly orbs of freshbocconcini embraced by glistening stoles of thickly smoked ham, strips of rabbitloin lacquered by a red-wine-and-mushroom ragù on bucatini, and the golden,crackling skin of his spit-roasted hen will fulfill at least one desire. Andknowing that DeCarlo used such sultry dishes to enchant and win his wife, Dulcinea Benson, who is sometimes at the front of the house, should imbueyou with all the confidence you need to say those three little words, “Wannashare dessert?”