The Place: Gaetana’s Cucina Italiana, 143 Christopher St. NYC (West Village)
The Plate(s): Eggplant rollatini, “straw and hay” pasta, chicken parmesan, chicken marsala, brick oven pizza, vino, vino, vino
The damage: average entree $13
Last night, I made my way down from the depths of midtown to the restaurant-heavy West Village. A short walk from West 4th St., Gaetana’s was practically empty when we sat down for an early dinner. A few of my friends had arrived early, greeted by complimentary glasses of Chianti and a plate of olives and cheese.
We were seated and dove into the menu and warm baskets of bread complemented by bowls of seasoned olive oil. With three vegetarians at the table and two cheese-haters, we were all able to find something that fit our appetities and budgets. I instantly gravitated towards the “straw and hay” pasta, a melange of zucchini, tomatoes, sauteed onions and fresh whole wheat and spinach linguine. The sauce was unexpectedly rich, probably thanks to a generous helping of ‘crema’ and ‘burro’. My friend, still stuffed from an afternoon of office pastries, opted for an appetizer portion of eggplant rollatini. Two delicate pieces of eggplant were stuffed with ricotta and covered with homemade marinara – perfect for an appetizer or small dinner. Brick oven pizzas slathered with Gaetana’s famous vodka sauce and fresh mozzarella were shared, along with chicken parm and chicken marsala (‘the best I’ve ever had’, said one of my friends.) With wine, the bill was still less than anywhere in Little Italy.
While I still have LOTS of restaurants to try in the city, I would consider returning to Gaetana’s. The food was good and the company, even better.