I have walked by Briciola on several occasions and it’s always packed. Now after eating dinner here I know why. The food is excellent, the wine list long and the atmosphere is much like a dinner party with one long narrow high-top table where you sit elbow to elbow with strangers with your dining partner directly across from you also nestled between unknown patrons. But soon, you are no longer strangers but part of the convivial dining experience.
The servers are attentive and speak with a heavy French accent which for an Italian restaurant was almost surreal! I often found myself wanting to say Merci as opposed to Grazie. But rest assured, the food and the wine are most certainly Italian! The communal dining atmosphere lends itself well to this type of food. Each course provides reasonably sized portions so trying several dishes family style is encouraged. You may end up sharing with your neighbor.
Renowned for their $1 Oysters, this was the most popular starter around. Although we passed on this, we did try the Grilled Octopus salad and theLemon and Oregano. The grilled bread was served with a peppery olive oil and balsamic blend.
The mains on the printed menu were made up mostly of pastas while they also have an extensive appetizer selection. I opted for the Gnocchi and was not disappointed. The small nuggets of potato pasta were light and fluffy and swimming in a fresh tomato basil marinara. I was thankful there was not so much to feel overstuffed. My friend had the Lobster Risotto and I’ve seen this on their specials menu for a while, and wonder if it’s a permanent special- just an extension of their menu. Also lighter than you’d expect and filled with sizable chunks of seafood.
Dessert was delightful! I loved the Panna Cotta with it’s surprise of Proscecco in each bubbly bite. The Tiramisu was creamy and very fresh. It didn’t have too much mocha powder that you often find, so you didn’t have a dry mouth when you took a bite.
Even throughout dessert they were refilling your wine glass and replacing your water bottle and you hated leaving at the end of your meal- you didn’t want the dinner party to end.
Overall, it is a great dining experience at Briciola, if you can get in! There were two spots left when we arrived at 6:30 and by the time we left there was quite a line formed outside. So go early and go hungry!Briciola 370 W. 51St. NY, NY Hell’s Kitchen (646)-678-5763 Major Credit Cards accepted