Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria
photo by Dominic Perri
Donna Lennard captured the hearts of New Yorkers when she opened opened Il Buco on antique-shop-lined Bond Street in 1994. She sold “primitive American furnishings and a growing collection of European imports,” she says, while a kitchen turned out lauded small plates and wine. Two years later, she gave us Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria, another market-restaurant hybrid, albeit one that vends food instead of housewares. The flagship’s original neighbors have long since closed up shop and the antiques have become a backdrop, but the market portion survives on Great Jones, where you can pop in during the daytime for bread, house-cured salumi, and an espresso. Just be sure to return at night, when the dining room fills with chattering regulars who’ve relaxed into this humming, homey, and casual rustic Italian trattoria. Greenmarket-obsessed Justin Smillie has helmed the kitchen for the past few years; you’ll want to try his bucatini cacio e pepe and, if it’s cold, his braised short ribs. The whole grilled fish makes an impressive showing, particularly because your server will bone it for you. Start with some of that salumi, though, and order a bottle of wine or two. No one’s going to object if you get louder as the night progresses.