Pescatore (955 2nd Avenue, www.pescatorerestaurant.com), a neighborhood destination and Second Avenue institution in Midtown East, has been serving Italian cuisine for over twenty years. Owner Charles Devigne and Executive Chef Kenneth Johnson are celebrating this milestone by going back to the basics of 1993, when the restaurant first opened. With a brand new menu that focuses on group dining at bargain prices without sacrificing quality, Pescatore is showcasing the traditional Italian values of mealtime as a social experience and a form of entertainment.
The menu is full of pizzetta, antipasti and pastas intended for sharing while prices allow for inexpensive dinner options of generous portions. Pizzetta, $12 to $15, includes caprino with goat cheese, caramelized onions, spicy coppa and fig marmalade and croque-madame with fontina cheese, prosciutto, asparagus and soft-centered egg.
Antipasti, $6.95 for one or $18.95 for three, are comprised of mushroom risotto balls with truffle aioli and citrus cured anchovies with shaved fennel, orange and dry olives. Insalata, $6 to $10, includes roasted beet salad with ricotta salata and Amalfi seafood salad with octopus, shrimp, calamari and mussels. Pastas, $11 to $20 for full portions and $5 to $10 for half portions, showcase fettuccini d’aragosta with lobster, leeks and tomatoes in a lobster grappa cream and gnocchi with broccoli rabe, fennel sausage and red pepper flakes. Secondi dishes, $16 to $30, consist of pan roasted Chilean sea bass with cauliflower, currant, almond condiment and mushroom faro, and slow roasted veal shoulder with creamy polenta and forest mushrooms. Desserts are $9 and include cheesecake served with vanilla custard sauce and berry coulis as well as ricotta zeppole with berry, vanilla and chocolate sauces.
Over 30 selections of approachable wines are all served by the glass for $6 to $15 or half-bottle for $30 to $50 and by the bottle for $24 to $95. They include full bodied Lunadoro Vino Nobile di Montepulciano from Tuscany with a rich, earthy flavor; full bodied Cataldo Nero D’avola from Sicily with round, spicy aromas, notes of tobacco and vanilla and a dry finish; J. Bouchon Sauvignon Blanc from Chile with citrus notes and a dry finish; and medium bodied Lucashof Organic Riesling from Germany with notes of fruit and pepper. Cocktails, $8 to $12, feature white peach martini with peach vodka, peach liqueur, peach nectar, Rose’s lime, cranberry and sour mix; mango bellini with mango vodka, mango nectar and Prosecco; and red wine sangria. Beer is also served including Brooklyn Brewery seasonal as well as Peroni, Hoegaarden, Amstel Light, Budweiser and Samuel Adams.
Pescatore is open Monday through Friday for lunch from noon to 4 p.m. and dinner until 11:30 p.m. Brunch is offered from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and dinner until 11:30 p.m. on Saturday and 11 p.m. on Sunday. For reservations or more information, contact Pescatore Restaurant at (212) 752-7151 orwww.pescatorerestaurant.com. By Tara Berkoski