If there were echelons of pasta royalty in New York City, chef Michael White would wear top crown. Known for running some of the best high-end Italian restaurants in the city, White’s pasta game is on point. At his latest outpost, Vaucluse (100 East 63rd Street; 646-869-2300), a fine French brasserie inspired by his many visits to the South of France, White and executive chef Jared Gadbaw offer just a handful of pâtes fraîches maison. The ravioli-like épaulettes blend White’s elegant Italian style with French flavor and technique, the result of which is pure gustatory perfection.
The merits of Italian versus French cooking can be a source of contention among culinarians, just as intense as the Jets-Pats rivalry. Competition makes this city go ’round, but in the case of this Italophile chef’s new restaurant, reconciliation has created a beautiful offspring.
These handmade squares, named for their resemblance to the shoulder piece on military uniforms, have two raised pockets separating the savory fillings. One side holds tender rabbit, the other buttery French reblochon cheese. Each pouch holds its own, but together, the dish is like a chic Gallic soirée, indulgent yet refined. The pasta would be lovely with just some browned butter, maybe some olive oil, or a simple sauce. When White is involved, though, every detail is well thought-out; the plate is presented with a rich black-truffle reduction, adding some more sweetness, earth, and a hearty dose of that intoxicating truffle aroma beloved by every human (and pig) on the planet.
The Village Voice is counting down to our Best of New York City issue in October. We’re combing the city every day, one dish at a time, to guide you to the most delicious food in NYC. These are our 100 Favorite Dishes for 2015, in no particular order, save for the top 10. To read about previous dishes, browse our 100 Favorite Dishes page.