There is something so charming about the West Village’s stretch of Hudson Street, but when so many establishments started boarding up because of rising rents, it seemed like this quaint “restaurant row” had passed its prime. The only bright spot amongst the empty retail was Renato’s charming red-sauce favorite, Piccolo Angolo.
But Hudson Street is back with a vengeance (and we couldn’t be happier being headquartered just a few blocks away). Survivors like Fatty Crab and Employees Only have been joined by a second Mole Restaurant and Takashi’s unique brand of yakinuku—Japanese-style Korean BBQ. The latest newcomers, Spasso and Lievito, which opened within weeks of each other, have both delivered some of our tastiest meals in recent memory.
Spasso is the brainchild of Bobby Werhane (dell’anima, L’Artusi) and Chef Craig Wallen (Convivio, Lupa). The Housemade Stracciatella could give Locanda Verde’s whipped ricotta a run for best formaggi appetizing, and the pasta offerings – Maccheroni with Pork Ragu + Goat Cheese – have the obvious influences of a man reared by two of Italian cuisine’s greats, Batali and White.
Down the street, four heavily accented Italian guys have made their pizza dreams come true at Lievito. The thin crust is perfectly seasoned and charred, light in texture and crisp all the way to the center. Topped with everything from simple tomato sauce and mozzarella to filet mignon and imported burrata, Lievito’s pizza is the perfect fusion of the Neapolitan pie and the classic NY slice.