Pete Wells Awards Pasquale Jones Two Stars

Avoid the sea of average tourist traps that line the streets of Little Italy by dining here

When it comes to its wood-fired pizzas, "The crust is crisp and airy, speckled black around the rim."

Food critic Pete Wells’ review of the second restaurant from the Charlie Bird team was neither scathing nor amazing. He makes it clear what you should order and what to avoid. That said, the menu is quite “long and restless,” which Wells writes, “gives Pasquale Jones a master-of-none quality.” Though this restaurant isn’t the absolute best out there (or at least, given this review, doesn’t seem to be), Wells attests, “There are a lot of little reasons to eat at Pasquale Jones. For big reasons, you have the clam pizza and pork shank, maybe, and the wine.”

As all New Yorkers know, Little Italy is full of sub-par Italian joints not worth a dime of your money. Wells writes that they’re, “indistinguishable Little Italy flytraps with their sidewalk hawkers, their holy-communion-ready wines, their lifeless linguine facedown in a shallow pool of clam sauce…” and continues that thanks to Pasquale Jones, “the wandering hordes now stand a better chance of tasting New York-style Italian food.”

The clam pie is a must. The pastas aren’t as fabulous. That said, Wells writes, “The fresh noodles are particularly good. They keep their firm, egg-dense snap, like the strands of tagliatelle in a soft-spoken rabbit ragù or the thin tajarin with corn, cream and a cotton-candy puff of shaved summer truffle.” As for small plates, he was a fan of the charcoal-grilled curls of cuttlefish which were, “impressively meaty and sweet.”

He was a big fan of the main course, the striped bass, which “left the oven at precisely the right time, with all the juicy mild sweetness still under the skin.” He also writes that the pork shank for two will not disappoint, as it’s a “golden knot of meat that shines with melted lardo.”

Lastly, don’t forget wine. The list is extensive, so much so the Wells compares it to the lengthy speech of Donald Trump. Take that as you will.

For the full New York Times review, click here.

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