NYC
Posted November 25, 2022

I don’t know much about Piccola Cucina other than that it’s real close to Bloomingdales in Midtown. When we tried to stop in at 5:30 PM as a walk-in many months ago, they told us there was a 2 hour wait. Since we knew today we were going to be around the area, I saw they had a few openings and quickly booked a reservation for 6 PM for 2. This review is for the Midtown Uptown location.

Ambiance

When you enter the restaurant, it reminds me of a bistro type setting. The host greeted us in Italian, and showed us our table promptly. Our waiter was very nice and helped us figure out portions and food as a whole. The ambiance is very lively and cheerful. When there is a birthday, they play some song over the speakers, and everyone gets into it. The noise never really got loud enough for me to find it a nuisance.

The service was timely without any issue.

Food

The Greta ($17 - left) came with vodka, strawberries, mint, lime juice, and simple syrup. It was quite smooth and fits my partner’s fruit palette well.

The glass of Montepulciano D’AbruzzoDama Marammiero ($15 - right) was a pleasant Italian red wine. It’s medium body, dry, and fairly easy to pair with just about anything.

They gave us complimentary bread with 3 sauces. The left was carrots, the middle was some sort of hummus like sauce, and the right was some sort of tomato chutney concoction. I definitely preferred the tomato paste more than the others because its accents were very flavorful.

The Tartare di Salmone a.k.a. Salmon Tartare ($21.95) came with ginger marinated salmon tartare, avocado, lime, and poppy seeds. The lime helped cut through the salmon well. The avocado and salmon blended well together to the point where I forgot it was salmon.

The Sarde a.k.a. Fried Sardine ($19.95) came with 5 pieces of fried sardines and some garnishes of lemon, citrus fruits, and cabbage. The sardines were surprisingly very large, and they had a lot more bones that were inedible. There was a lot of energy spent to be careful as you worked through eating this. The head was fried through enough such that you can eat it whole entirely. The sardine itself tasted decent to me, and it was not my favorite given how much work was needed to separate the meat from the bones at specific places. The citrus fruit (seems like some sort of orange wedge) and the cabbage helped balance the fishiness of the sardine. This plate was just ok for us. I would probably skip it the next time unless you really crave enormous sardines.

The Lasagna della Mamma Rosa ($22.95) came with meat ragu, tomato, and bechamel sauce. This lasagna was a bit salty, but it was good when paired with my red wine. The meat ragu and the pasta were quite dense, so it actually was pretty filling. I think for the price, it was pretty reasonable and acceptable. It definitely should fill up a single person decently.

Final Verdict

I now understand why Piccola Cucina is such a happening space. The price is reasonable, and the food is quite good. I would definitely favor this over the other normal Italian American restaurant joints around the city. If you are shopping near Bloomingdales near 59th, definitely consider this restaurant as one of your options. I think we would love to come back to try some other dishes.

Yelp Jabs

Maybe the Best Lasagna I have ever had. Extremely deep and complex, amazingly the flavors all melted together so there was no single flavor that stood out, but they all washed over you together.

This Elitist hasn’t had enough lasagna to make a decision that this is the best one. It’s good, but I wouldn’t say it was great. One of the more memorable ones for me was at Don Angie.

I do not recommend the cacio e Pepe. Sure, it’s cool that they twirl it in a cheese wheel, but it is flavorless, and comes with no toppings aside from cheese and pepper.

I’m not sure which side of the galaxy this Yelper was born on, but that pasta dish they ordered literally translates to “Spaghetti cheese and pepper”. So yeah, there are no toppings other than cheese and pepper. And if they had Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe in basically any Italian restaurant, it literally is just cheese and pepper.

Revisions

  1. Nov 25, 2022 - Initial revision.