restaurants
Gradisca
126 West 13th Street
212 691 4886

This spot is not new having been opened in 2000 by Massimo Galeano, but it remains one of the most consistent Italian spots in NY, defying passing fads. In the 70s, the space was home to Reno Sweeney, a cabaret and jazz club, where Peter Allen, Melissa Manchester and The Manhattan Transfer all played. Framed posters which advertised the club's acts paper the walls today. Today the spot serves Italian cooking inspired by Massimo’s mother, but with some updates over the years, including a 6-course chef's tasting menu, and 130 bottles of wine (instead of the original 13). This spot is a dairy- lover's dream, as there's cheese in almost everything, however to rely on that would be to miss some of the best things Gradisca has to offer, such as the seafood and the salads. Must have starters at this spot include the fresh tuna tartare over a balsamic shallot drizzle and the ridiculously amazing and succulent seared diver scallops, served on shaved, raw artichoke. A wonderful steamed Spanish octopus salad is meaty with cubed potatoes and string beans. Gradisca is known for its pastas and not to be missed is the spaghetti aglio, olio and peperoncino, completely simple in its flavors with just a bit of olive oil and red chili flake. Another to try is the ricotta lemon ravioli done with shrimp, eggplant and almonds. GERD sufferers will love it here where gluten-free pasta is available with many items. The only sadness about this spot is that the neighborhood has not allowed Massimo to remove the red brick walls, behind which are windows that would restore a potentially historic West Village view.

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