Earlier this week, after returning from vacation from the west coast, I was invited to a blogger event hosted by Zero Otto Nove, located in the Flatiron district. Often when you think of Italian food in Flatiron, Eataly often comes to mind, but you should now add Zero Otto Nove to your list of restaurants in that area. Chef Robert Paciullo’s restaurant is quite large, but does make you feel like you are in a giant restaurant. The exposed brick, large brick oven in back and charming upstairs seating area adorned with maps of Italy makes you feel right at home.
At this event, I was able to taste several courses, getting a taste of everything the restaurant had to offer. Some of the dishes sang with their delicious flavors and fresh ingredients, while others didn’t quite hit the mark. Overall, however, the meal provided a lot of reasons to come back for more. Here is a break down:
The first course was pizza, a great way to begin any meal. The two pizzas served were: Margarita Pizza (tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, parmigiano and basil) and the pizza special, which was my favorite of the two, which contained mascarpone cheese, burrata, capers and arugula. If they have the later on the menu, I would order it as a nice thing to share, its extremely rich, but delicious!
Next was my second favorite dish of the night, radiatori in cartoccio. This is a house specialty radiatori pasta cooked in tinfoil with porchini mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and bread crumbs with shaved parmigiano cheese. The dish is baked, but the pasta still came out just about al dente and the sauce, while simple, packed in a lot of flavor.
The second pasta offering was oricciette con broccoli di rapa which included oricciette with broccoli rabe, toasted almonds and pecorino cheese. The dish was light and fresh, my only complaint was that the broccoli rabe was still a bit bitter, as it can often be.
Following this parade of pasta was a hunk of meat, short rib to be exact. Brasato alla Peroni which is a short rib braised in a peroni sauce with hot cherry peppers and topped with gorgonzola. I was a huge fan of the sauce, but I thought the short rib itself could have used a bit longer to braise.
What’s next you ask? Dolce of course. The sweet brought for us to share is only available by special request, but you should definitely request it. A nutella calzone. Yep, a nutella calzone. I’m not too sure how authentic this really is, but who cares, it was decadent, rich and delicious.
Overall, I was impressed by a number of dishes, the service was excellent throughout and the atmosphere made it come together nicely. If you are in flatiron and in the mood for reasonably priced Italian classics, check out Zero Otto Nove.