Bar Stuzzichini: Where Laid-Back Style Goes to Die
There is something decidedly off about this place. Maybe its the “shades of firehouse red and lots of prefab wood moldings” that NYMag dubs “like some unfortunate marriage between Pottery Barn and a local outlet of Pizzeria Uno” or the ridiculously aloof and pretentious hosts that actively ignore new patrons for a good 2 minutes before acknowledging their presence. Or maybe its the quirky set of servers that sit between being too doting and completely incapable of delivering all parts of a meal without a barage of requests (i.e. could I have a fork and knife? knife comes, but no fork or could I have a water refill? wine glass will be topped off with no water to follow). or MAYBE its the strange hodgepodge of a clientele that blends cougars on the prowl, well-off young Flatiron residents, large families, and awkward first dates.
Either way, the ‘scene’ at Bar Stuzzichini is decidedly stange. So, beware.
HOWEVER, and this is one big however, the food is surprisingly good. Paul Di Bari, the former chef at Austrian hot spot Wallse, prepares simple and delicious Southern Italian small plates and entrees. The tapas selection is my personal favorite. Di Bari puts out meatballs with just enough spice, rolls of eggplant stuffed with ricotta, crostinis with ricotta and honey or a chickpea spread, slices of cured deli meats, fried artichokes, grilled octopus, and a selection of italian cheeses. In addition to the small plates though is a large menu of salads and entrees. The twist on “macaroni and cheese” is made fresh by pistachio and lemon cream sauce, and the braised rabbit is succulent.
If you’re able to put the atrocious decor and off-putting service behind you, Bar Stuzzichini is a gem and an all-around surprise food-wise! Check out the outdoor seating in the summer to avoid the Olive Garden-like interior.