Gnocco is a pretty quiet, unpretentious place and the décor is warm and appealing. I met a friend there on a temperate winter’s night and Stefano the manager of the restaurant welcomed us and made us feel comfortable. We decided to skip the enclosed garden, a beautiful spot, but with a big party happening and we wanted to dish. We were seated near the front, where the glass doors are opened onto the sidewalks of East 10th Street in warmer weather.
We wanted some comforting food, which my companion, who is fluent not only in the Italian language, but also Italian food and culture as well, told me Gnocco offered by way of Northern Italy and Central and specifically, Moderna.
The bread was good, crusty country bread, the same bread my friend said her grandparents served. We of course ordered the namesake specialty gnocco, which were light and fluffy. Gnocco is homemade deep fried dough with a selection of typical northern Italian cold cuts.
As we sat catching up on each other’s lives we devoured the Gnocchetti ai Funghi Porcini (homemade potato gnocchetti with porcini mushrooms) and Spezzatino di Manzo con Polenta Bramata (traditional slow cooked beef stew served with soft polenta bramata).
Both entrees were warm, filling and very nicely done.
We sat awhile enjoying some sparkling water (neither of us imbibe, but Gnocco has a fine selection of Italian wines) and then decided to order dessert. My friend elected to order the traditional Torta di Ricotta (Italian cheese cak with whipped cream and wild berries) and I settled on the Semifreddo al Limone e Menta, which I thought sounded exotic. It was a lemon and mint parfait with caramelized peach and totally heavenly. My friend said the cheesecake was good, but not traditional Italian cheesecake. No matter, I finished it for her: it was very rich and filled me up for the walk back to Union Square.
Gnocco: Open weekdays 4pm-12am and weekends 12pm-12am, 337 East 10th St # 1, 212-677-1913, gnocco.com