For BOOF Buddy Sho’s birthday, I was lucky enough to be in the special number of individuals who went to dinner. We were eventually headed out in the Village, so Sho had looked up a restaurant earlier that week which was in close proximity to where we would heading later that evening. She found a nice Italian restaurant and upon looking at the menu, I knew that it would be hard for it not to be enjoyable.
Trattori Spaghetto is located a couple of blocks over from Washington Square in between 6th and 7th on Bleeker. If you were to look up “authentic Italian restaurant” on WIKI or in a dictionary, you may be brought to a picture of this establishment. It sits on a corner and has outside patio dining one side of the restaurant, and the other side has full length doors that they open up during the summer time. The exterior color is of a deep green hue and like many restaurants and NYC establishments, it essentially sits at the base of an apartment building. It was a beautiful late summer evening, so the doors were opened and it makes for a really great environment because if you ever get too bored with your company, you can just people watch. Kidding (kinda).
The interior is definitely full on traditional Italian with wooden chairs and tables covered with that infamous checkered picnic tablecloth. The exposed brick walls are lined with pictures, old wine bottles, large green plants and random assorted knick knacks. The lighting is dim but appropriate and one of the most notable features of the restaurant is the center console that has an assortment of various appetizers, antipasto, bread and a collection of wine bottles dressed up with additional accents. The service is warm and attentive, but occasionally things do get a little lost in translation.
For our food, the able started off with stuffed artichokes and an antipasto plate. The stuffed artichoke was fine but forgettable, and the most notably delicious item on the antipasto plate was the eggplant which was just seasoned and cooked perfectly. Everything else was fine, just not memorable.
Because our party was so large, I am only going to discuss what Sho and I had for dinner. Most members of the party ordered pasta entrees and both Sho and I were no exception. Sho ordered the spaghetti puttanesca which also had olives, capers, tomatoes and anchovies. I had a bite of hers and it was pretty good. The flavors were fine but unfortunately like most things we had the night, it was just a little forgettable. I ordered the Gnocchi Ortalana with eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms and mozzarella. For those of you who have been reading BOOF for some time now or you’re just a good friend of me, you would probably epect that I fell in love at first sight of this dish. You are not mistaken. I think the gnocchi was probably one of the highlights of the evening (three of us had it) because the gnocchi were wonderful light and fluffy pillows of potatoey pasta (which they should be), and all of the veggies were integrated well into the dish. I will say that I love my cheese proably more so than the next person and especially Mozzarella, but I think they could have probably stepped down on the mozzarella because it began to drown out the other flavors of the dish. I will remark that I also tend to judge the success of a dish on how much additional table seasonings you have to add to it when it arrives. Most of us ended up adding some red pepper flakes or just pepper in general (no salt) to give it a little kick. I think that restaurants too often will not kick up a dish because they are concerned that the patrons will not enjoy it, but I think that as long as they do not become a pepper monkey, they should be able to get a little more pop of spice without making it too much to handle for the average customer.
All in all, I did like Trattoria Spaghetto but there are definitely some issues at play in the success of the restaurant. They only take cash (there is an ATM in the restaurant) but that is still something to remember. The food is good but it is all pretty forgettable which is not a great sign. They aren’t offering up anything that is really new or inventive, which makes the restaurant appear a little boring. If you are going to air on the traditional side of things, the food has to be out of this world delicious, and unfortunately…Trattoria Spaghetto was not. It is good for groups and a casual city date with your sig other and prices are very reasonable.