Dish no. 7: Pastiera from Sole di Capri (165 Church Street, 212-513-1113)
Perpetually crowded at lunch, this petite Italian restaurant run by Ecuador-born, Piedmont-raised-and-trained chef Eddy Erazo hits it out of the park with gentle prices (the menu tops out at $16) and homey Italian cooking that never skimps on bold flavor. Toothsome pastas emerge from the subway vestibule-sized kitchen wearing thick coats of tomato and cream sauces, and the chef anchors antipasti plates with thick wedges of freshly made mozzarella. Desserts also fall to Erazo, who bakes cookies and other traditional Italian sweets, our favorite of which is the bulgur wheat and ricotta cake called pastiera. Studded with candied orange, the cake is denser than ricotta cheesecake, with a flavor similar to cannoli filling thanks to that sugared fruit. Served with fresh blackberry compote and thickened sweet cream, it’s worth the trip alone.
In conjunction with our 2014 Best of NYC issue, we’re traipsing through the boroughs and divulging our favorite dishes of the year. They’re presented here as a countdown, but we’re listing them in no particular order. Consider this a guide to what’s good to eat in this town right this very second.