September 26, 2005

48 MacDougal St (Houston & Prince).  212-358-1707.
Downtown where
Greenwich Village morphs into Soho is an easily overlooked storefront restaurant, nestled next to a French/Brazilian fusion restaurant.  The dining room is small, maybe twenty tables.  The floors are bleached wood, the lines and colors are beige, modern, and clean.  There are paper tablecloths but the napkins are linen.  And the staff is really pleasant. The food is regional Italian, from the Puglia region at the heel of Italy’s boot.  To us this meant lots of vegetables, especially fava beans, and lots of organ meat and rabbit.  Thankfully, the chef and the menu did not disappoint.  We started with a round slice of rabbit frittata filled with Swiss chard, fiori di zucca (filled with ricotta and herbs), and grilled octopus salad with cherry tomatoes and herbs, washed down with a chardonnay from Puglia, of course.  The Primi looked good, and had the obligatory orecchiete (with sweet sausage, cherry tomatoes, asparagus and pecorino), but we moved right into the Secondi. Moving into a red, we drank the Flaio Primitivo, also from Puglia and it was very good with the rest of our meal.  The lamb sweetbreads on a bed of lentils with caramelized pearl onions were truly delicious.  So too the boneless quail on a bed of peas and pan seared pork medallions on escarole.  No meal of the region would be complete without fava beans so we had a side order of them, served with shaved pecorino.  At this point we were very happy diners and too full for dessert.  We did manage a cheese plate to share.

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