Earlier this winter, Alessandro Stratta, a chef who’s had a good amount of success in Las Vegas, opened Bigoli (140 West 13th Street, 212-647-1001), his first New York City restaurant, located in the brownstone formerly occupied by Gonzo. The food at Bigoli is more casual than what Stratta was doing in Las Vegas; you’ll find a menu of hearty Italian classics featuring soups and salads, pastas, braised meats. We stopped by recently to check out the scene and found the food to be good, though maybe not quite as exceptional as we were expecting, given the chef’s pedigree and surrounding hype. The décor left us wanting more (hello, Westchester wedding venue!) and we were also especially bummed not to see the namesake bigoli pasta (a sort of thick spaghetti) on the menu. How can a restaurant not serve its namesake? We were told it would be on the menu in January. Until then, though, you’d be wise to sample the veal agnolotti.
Agnolotti are a Piedmontese ravioli, little nubby rectangular pockets stuffed with meat and usually lightly dressed in a butter-based sauce. In this $24 dish, they’re filled with veal and braised, garnished with wild mushrooms, and sauced in roasted veal jus, then lightly sprinkled with pecorino romano. Make no mistake, this is one hearty dish, best as an entrée rather than an appetizer. The pasta has just the right amount of bite, and the sauce is decadently rich with great veal flavor. Maybe even good enough of a dish for the restaurant to be named Agnolotti instead.