Bocca is located at 39 E. 19th Street between Park and Broadway, 212-387-1200, www.boccanyc.com, and is open for lunch Mon–Fri, 12-3pm and for dinner Mon–Thurs 5:30-11pm, Fri-Sat 5:30-11:30 and Sun 5:30-10:30pm
At Bocca, the team behind Cacio e Pepe have done everything to make sure diners are comfortable, from the simple but elegant décor and cushy banquets to the attentive service. Guests are greeted by the ebullient host Nico Di Stefano, (Il Buco and Quinto Quatro), who ensures that guests have everything they need. Make no mistake. Mr. Di Stefano is an expert and a reason in itself to visit Bocca.
Another reason is a new executive chef, James Corona, who has worked at some of the finest kitchens here and abroad including Po under Mario Batali, as well as at San Domenico and Bouley. He also staged at El Bulli in 2006. Chef Corona’s take on Roman cuisine, as one of the original comfort foods, makes Bocca shine.. What’s more comforting than knowing that you can always rely on the kitchen to send out perfectly prepared classic Italian dishes done in a refined and modern way, an accessible wine list, and house-made desserts, all at comfortable prices?
Guests can begin in the bar with after-work happy hour for artisanal cocktails made with fresh juices (try the white wine sangria with spiced peaches and homemade aromatics), wines or prosecco by the glass, or choose from a selection of premium beers, along with bar snacks such as gorgonzola-stuffed dates wrapped in speck and chicken liver crostini with fig marmalade.
For antipasti, share a platter of cured meats and cheeses, or select the wonderfully tender timballino di melanzane all parmigiana, a mound of baked eggplant melting with mozzarella or polpettine della nonna, light and airy veal meatballs with tomato sauce, as well as refreshing salads composed of Greenmarket ingredients such as heirloom tomatoes or strawberries.
Then it’s on to the primi. The ultimate comfort food, the Roman version of mac and cheese, tonnarelli cacio e pepe is served tableside, the pasta twirled in a 25 lb Romano cheese wheel. You can see the cheese melting as it coats the fresh, black pepper flecked pasta in a creamy sauce. Another Roman favorite is carbonara, here made with egg, pecorino, guanciale, but no cream. Oxtail ravioli with porcini and mascarpone is a rich and satisfying treat. Other house made pastas include black fettuccine with puttanesca sauce and calamari, and mint pasta tossed with braised lamb shank and fresh ricotta.
tonnarelli cacio e pepe (Above)
Another delightful pasta creation
For the secondi, the porchetta is not to be missed. One of the best in the city—pork shoulder is marinated for two days in fennel pollen and rosemary and roasted until moist on the inside and crackling on the outside served with broccoli rabe and red onion marmalade. Another Roman classic that feels like home is pollo alla cacciatore, chicken braised with peppers, tomatoes and gaeta olives. For pescatarians, there’s tonno in padella con caponata, seared tuna with smoked eggplant puree and caponata, and baccala alla romano, Atlantic cod fish braised in tomatoes with olives, caper berries and potatoes.
For a house made dessert light enough to follow any meal, try the coconut panna cotta with a tangy passion-fruit puree. A bit richer, but still light, there’s also a sheep’s milk ricotta cheesecake and the classic rum-soaked tiramisu.
The all-Italian wine list features a broad selection of wines not found everywhere else. Carefully selected to include wines made from indigenous grapes from Italy that are not mainstream or well known, the bottled wines are a great value. You’ll always find something different that you may not have discovered before on the wine list. Also available are excellent full-bodied Barolos and smooth Brunellos. And for an extra value, join Bocca on Sunday evenings when all the wines are half price.
Centrally located between the Flatiron and Gramercy Park, Bocca is ideally situated as place to take a break from Fifth Avenue shopping and convenient from all parts of the city for birthday parties and date nights. But you don’t need to wait for a special occasion: Bocca’s comfortable cuisine at comfortable prices is perfect for everyday.
And don’t forget to ask for Nico.
Copyright 2012 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.
As Executive Chef at Doris and Ed’s, he won numerous awards and accolades, including Gourmet magazines “Top American Tables.” In 2001, at Sogno Ristorante in Red Bank, NJ, he received a three-star review from The New York Times. With the new chef comes fresh pastas made in house, gluten-free alternatives, and modern Italian dishes such as salmone con fregola e yogurt – pan seared salmon with primavera fregola (Italian couscous).
Sample Menu (Subject To Change)
Bocca uses only imported Italian DOP (protected designation of origin)
products and is a proud supporter of the Union Square Farmer’s Market
Formaggi e salumi 18/28
SELECTION OF THREE OR SIX ITALIAN IMPORTED CHEESES AND CHARCUTERIE
Ricotta di bufala Sardinian buffalo’s milk cheese Salame toscano Tuscan rustic salame
Rocca Emilia Romagna 36 months aged parmigiano Speck Alto adige smoked Prosciutto
Gorgonzola dolce Piedmont cow’s milk creamy blue cheese Sopressatta Calabrian hot salame
Pecorino toscano Tuscan sharp sheep’s milk cheese San Daniele Emilian prosciutto
Ubriaco Venetian goat’s milk cheese aged under Barbera grape must Finocchiona Tuscan sweet salame
Mozzarella fatta in casa con prosciutto 15
House made cow’s milk mozzarella and prosciutto di San Daniele
Polpettine della nonna 13
Veal meatballs, tomato sauce and grated parmigiano
Animelle e carciofi al limone 13
Pan seared sweetbreads over sautéed artichokes and preserved lemon
Fritturina di calamari e zucchine 14
Day boat crispy calamari and zucchini with “arrabiata” tomato sauce
Portobello al forno con taleggio 13
Oven roasted Portobello mushroom, taleggio cheese, roasted tomatoes and baby arugula
Tuna tartare 14
Sushi grade tuna tartare with lemon pressed olive oil, capers and roasted asparagus
Carpaccio di manzo pepato 14
Pepper seared beef carpaccio, cremini mushroom, shaved Grana and truffle citronette
Timballino di melanzane alla parmigiana 14
Eggplant timbale with house made mozzarella and a light tomato sauce
Insalata di rucola e fragole 11
Baby arugula salad, farmer’s market strawberries, ricotta salata and champagne vinaigrette
Insalata pomodori e cipolla rossa 13
Farmer’s market heirloom tomatoes, shaved red onion, fresh oregano and Chianti vinaigrette
Insalata con finocchi e arance 10
Farmer’s market shaved fennel, watercress, oranges and white balsamic
Executive chef – James Corona
Our menu changes seasonally – 20% gratuity will be added for parties of 6 or more
Tonnarelli cacio e pepe 17
House made pasta served table side with pecorino Romano and coarse black pepper
Capricci alla norcina 18
Imported durum wheat twisted tubes pasta with sweet sausage, touch of cream and
grated imported smoked buffalo mozzarella
Spaghetti alla carbonara 17
Imported durum wheat spaghetti with guanciale, pecorino and egg
Gnocchi al “telefono” 17
House made gnocchi with tomato sauce, fresh basil and house made mozzarella
Bucatini all’amatriciana 18
Imported durum wheat bucatini tossed with tomato braised pancetta and pecorino
Pappardelle al ragÚ di agnello in bianco 19
House made mint pasta tossed with white wine braised lamb shank and fresh ricotta
Fettuccine nere con calamari alla puttanesca 18
House made black fettuccine tossed with puttanesca sauce and calamari
Ravioli di coda alla vaccinara 19
House made oxtail ravioli tossed with English peas, porcini and mascarpone
Linguine alle vongole 18
Imported durum wheat linguine tossed with Manila clams, EVOO and garlic
Gluten free pasta is available- please ask your server
Baccalà alla romana 26
Atlantic cod fish braised in tomato with Gaeta olives, caperberries and potatoes
Salmone con fregola e yogurt 24
Pan seared Alaskan king salmon with fregola primavera and a cool cucumber and yogurt dressing
Tonno in padella con caponata 27
Seared tuna with smoked eggplant puree and caponata
Bistecca ai ferri 27
Sliced hanger steak with rosemary potatoes and salsa verde
Porchetta alla romana 26
Slow roasted pork shoulder “porchetta” with sautéed broccoli rabe and red onion marmalade
Pollo alla cacciatora 23
Roman style chicken cacciatore with peppers, tomato and Gaeta olives
Potatoes and peppers 5 Spinaci alla romana 5
Sautéed broccoli rabe 6 Eggplant caponata 6
Asparagus alla parmigiana 8 Artichokes and pistachio 8