142 West Houston Street
Don’t try to tell me you know what a neighborhood gem is until you’ve visited Da Marcella. First of all, it’s tucked away in plain sight on Houston Street. Second, their entrées are all under $20. Third, I went there after spending two weeks in Italy and still thought it was awesome. Great for a casual dinner with the parents or a random Tuesday date, this is your new go-to consistently satisfying dining spot.
After walking down into the restaurant, you will immediately notice how small it is. You’re going be close to the guests next to you and it’s certainly going be loud, but you’re going to love every minute of it. The service is consistently slow, though, so even though you probably didn’t have to wait for a table, be prepared for a long meal.
Their pasta is all freshly made, and I recommend anything with “meatball,” “bolognese,” or “ragu” in the title. Lasagna? Fire. Tagliatelle alla Bolognese? A must order. Pork and veal meatballs? Don’t even get me started. I could eat those tomato sauce-drenched babies every day for the next 50 years and still crave them in year 51. Every bite is the best thing I ever tasted. I know, you looooove the 1lb meatball at Lavo or Prime Italian. I promise this one is better, and it’s a third of the price.
You can’t go wrong with any meat entrée you order. I love the braised short rib and Cornish hen – they taste just like your grandma made it, maybe even a little better. Skip the fish dishes – they’re fine, but kind of blah and not quite as comforting as the heavier plates.
Make sure you save room for dessert. Like the rest of the ingredients they use, everything is fresh. The ricotta cheesecake is out of this world. It’s an enormous piece of fluffy, creamy goodness that melts in your mouth.
I know Bar Pitti is around the corner and waiting an hour for a table there to dine with celebrities at a place that won’t cost $200 is tempting at all, but Da Marcella is hands down the most severely underrated Italian food in the city, and I feel it’s my civic duty to push you to try it.
What’s your favorite place to go for Italian? Stop keeping it to yourself, lemme know in the comments below so I can try too!
(tagliatelle image taken from http://www.urbanspoon.com/rph/3/1791225/2656810/new-york-da-marcella-da-marcella-photo)