Da Marcella is a great example of why “hidden gems” in Manhattan simply work. Hopefully, they stay a hidden gem for a little while longer before you have to wait a week or so for a reservation, because after my experience there a couple of days ago, this place can easily become the next big thing in Italian cuisine.
I took myself and a friend there this past Saturday night, all the way from Harlem on the 6 train to Greenwich Village, to experience all that Da Marcella had to provide. What is fabulous about this location is that it rings like a true Italian restaurant, nuzzled below street level on West Houston street. The location itself is not large in size, but doesn’t need to be as it provides you with a great amount of intimacy right upon arrival.
Something that was very noticeable to me when I first laid eyes on the menu was just how modest the pricing actually was. The most expensive item on the menu was under $30, which is surprising and honestly left me a bit alarmed as you have that “New Yorker” mentality of expensive = delicious and cheap = meh. Boy. was I completely wrong in that aspect.
Here is what I highly recommend you trying the next time you are at Da Marcella. For starters, their Burrata & San Daniele Prosciutto with truffle sauce was simply amazing. I feel like Burrata has become a mainstay on a lot of restaurants menus as of late, however their version just exudes freshness and pairs incredibly well with the prosciutto that it makes for a tasty bite.
If you are on the fish side and looking for another great starter, their Calamaretti Fretti, or Fried Calamari, will do the trick. Not much to this, but sometimes simple ingredients just work without putting in too much fuss. Squeeze the fresh lemon over it, dunk it into the tasty tomato sauce, and the dish is divine.
Although the pasta options looked quite amazing, each at a fantastic price of $10, I wanted something on the “turf” side so I opted for their Costa di Manzo Brasata al Barolo, in other words their Braised Short Ribs with Barolo and Roasted Potatoes. I also chose to have another side option and added on their tasty and perfectly cooked Sauteed Spinach. The presentation on this was great, as they open a beautiful dish to a heaping pile of the short ribs, which had great flavor and texture to them. This all made for a hearty meal, especially with the roasted potatoes, and one that I would go back for over and over again.
Da Marcella also does nightly specials and highlights a particular meal each night. My friend tried their Risotto Alla’Astice, which was a Half Lobster and Pinot Grigio Slow-Cooked Risotto. How could you say no to that, seriously? It screams EAT ME! Which we did, and it was deelish. The combination of the juicy and succulent lobster with the wonderfully cooked risotto made for a tasty dish that we recommend you try. Only on Saturday’s though.
Overall, Da Marcella did an amazing job with their awesome location, hospitality and more and is one place that I would definitely go back to for seconds and thirds. For more information, check out their official site.