Sometimes you find yourself in a place like Hells Kitchen wanting just simple, delicious Italian food, and somehow you'll uncover a tiny little space that looks like a wine shop, with its warm wooden shelves, softly lit by small votives, filled with glossy bottles of beautiful wines and one narrow stretch of a white tiled table perched with content, chattery eaters.
The menu is remarkably well-priced, in the sense that when you look at the menu, you will remark, "This is very reasonable [for Manhattan/Hells Kitchen/New York]!" The waitress, with the husky, cigarette-fueled voice, will mention a couple specials, a beauiful burrata, a warm octopus salad. The words mentioned are just too casual for how exquisite and delicious the dishes really are.
The salad is plentiful to share for two with thick chunks of the most tender, grilled octopus with its fat little suction cups, glazed with olive oil and drizzles of tangy balsamic. Roasted potatoes and herbs round out the surprisingly spectacular plate.
Our perfectly portioned plates of pasta also did not disappoint. A plate of tortellini with feather-thin strips of prosciutto and green peas in cream sauce was chewy and delightful. The only downside was that it needed more cream sauce because how else can you eat more of their wonderfully crusty bread?
The linguine and clams is something I'd get again and again. The pasta slippery and hard to wrangle under fork, but you'll find a way to maneuver the deliciously al dente strands into your mouth, savoring the light, flavorful broth and tossing in those clams for a nice briny finish to each bite. The broth is plentiful and makes it easy to eat a whole basket of bread on your own (and you will).
We grabbed scoops of Jeni's amazing ice cream from Gotham West's summer pop-up shop for dessert, but I have a good feeling the desserts at Briciola would be just as satisfying as each bite of our meal was, so I can't wait to return soon to find out!
Han's Nonsensical Rating: It feels like a hidden gem, and it almost is, until now. Delicious, delightful, an absolute charmer.
370 W 51st St, New York, NY 10019