Monday, May 21, 2012


39 East 19th, New York, NY 10003-1334
(212) 387-1200

Italian cuisine in New York city is almost on every street and avenue. I have tried several places all over and have found many favorites that I re-visit. Sometimes, I try new places that I get to read about or from reviews. Bocca caught my eye by chance when visiting the Union Square farmer's market, and decided to try it out one Sunday evening for dinner. The place is proud to note their authenticity by using only imported Italian DOP (Protected Designation of Origin) products in their menu.

Bocca has an elaborate dinner menu which has clean descriptions of all ingredients making it easy for my vegetarian taste. For the pasta dish, I selected the Tonnarelli Cacio E Pepe house made pasta served table side with pecorino romano and coarse black pepper. The server came to our table and diligently mixed the pasta with the romano and expertly served it to all. Mildly flavored and just right, it tasted smooth almost velvet like.

If you do note, the plating here also was a bit higher in style than the usual. It does up the experience and so did the fresh black pepper and romano cheese. At times, I have felt that to grade an Italian kitchen you have to try their pasta, as that is their fundamental base just like their pizza dough and sets the quality of the restaraunt. And this home made version surely made high marks on my list.

Also, finding good tasting ravioli is difficult. Every chef has her or his style of making it. Here, on Bocca's menu I was intrigued by the description of goat cheese mousse filled beet ravioli with fig jam and walnut oil. It did sound like a mouthful, but when it arrived looked like a piece of art put together delicately. Light and flavored with nuances of walnut and fig made this one of the finest ravioli's that I have tasted. Surely this is a must try if you are a ravioli fan.

The other pasta dish that I tried was the whole wheat fettuccine. Of late, I have been favoring the whole wheat versions of pasta, and this one was made with tomato sauce and fresh basil. Though being a standard simple recipe, I was happy to note that it was made with the same detail and cooked to perfection, just as the other dishes. Well plated, this too was superior in texture and taste.

In brief, surely there are many Italian speciality places that you can come across especially in New York, but this one was elegant and of high quality. Being well situated near Union Square, I do recommend a visit if you are in the mood for nice genuine Italian fare for dinner, or for lunch as they do have a separate equally compelling Lunch menu.