One of my favorite Italian restaurants in the city, Gnocco is currently hidden underneath scaffolding on 10th street between Ave A and B , and is almost like a best kept secret. I recently had dinner here on New Year’s Eve, my second time, and always admire it’s Tuscan charm and unpretentious vibe.
The cuisine is northern Italian, heavily focused on meat, cheese and stuffed pastas. We first started off with the restaurant’s namesake appetizer, the Gnocco, and Arancini di Riso. The Gnocco comprises of homemade deep fried dough (similar to the Cassoncini from A Voce ) with a selection of cold cuts and is served unassembled; however the way it’s supposed to be eaten is by wrapping the cold cuts around the fried dough. Simple in concept, this dish is absolutely mind-blowing.
The Arancini is stuffed with creamy medley of peas, zucchini, mozzarella cheese and is supposed to be dipped in a spicy marinara sauce. The marinara sauce can be mistaken for tomato soup and can stand by itself. While I did like the Arancini, I still keep reminiscing about this past summer at Madison Square Eats where I tried a variety of them for the first time.
For our entrees, we shared the Tagliatelle con Ragu e Piselli (homemade tagliatelle pasta with beef ragu and green peas) and the Affumicata (pizza with smoked mozzarella, tomato sauce and Italian sausages). People always ask why I would choose to go out for pasta when I can make
it for way less. My personal philosophy is to pick dishes that would be difficult to recreate. I can appreciate a ragu because it can typically take hours for the meat to stew and the Tagliatelle did not disappoint! As for the pizza, the combination of smoked mozzarella and spices of the sausage enhanced seemingly basic ingredients.
Unfortunately I didn’t order dessert, but on my next visit I will look Calzone Nutella. I look forward to the next visit and will have a difficult time picking something new to try.