By Jane Meyer
Do the city and more specifically The Village need another Italian restaurant? If you are referring to Pagani, the new restaurant in the heart of the West Village, the answer is an enthusiastic yes! Pagani is an elegant yet casual Italian restaurant. And from day one it has been a resounding success.
Occupying the old Pagani and Bros music store, the place features a unique layout and design. A nod is given to this linage; a few signature cocktails curated by Sean Mccure are in tribute to the space’s history. For example, Victrola named for a Victrola phonograph player is a tasty delight. Island records founder Chris Blackwell is paid homage with a rum drink called the Beach Bum. Designer Taavo Somer of Freeman’s, Gemma and Peels has created an elegant and cozy spin on the traditional Italian restaurant. The restaurant’s decor is enhanced by distressed mirrors, beautiful tile and wooden floors with a long marble bar.
UVA Restaurateur Massimo Lusardi has assembled a who’s who of the restaurant world to bring the diner a unique culinary experience. The dinner menu is akin to the wine list in its affordability. Pagani should be commended on its exceptional and friendly service; as soon as we arrived a friendly hostess who took our coats and escorted us to our tables greeted us. Within a few moments our waitress introduced herself.
The fare is also reasonably priced. Most pastas and starters cost less than most of their competitors. Main courses are a very digestible $20 and up. Something that is becoming exceedingly available in NY restaurants are gluten free dishes, Pagani offers all pasta dishes with this option.
Mark Barrett’s menu includes a multi-regional Italian menu that is brimming with flavorful and fresh dishes. For starters the farm poached egg with oyster mushrooms was delicious accented with baby spinach and crispy pancetta vinaigrette. Any Italian restaurant that doesn’t have fresh mozzarella cannot be considered truly authentic and Pagani does not disappoint. With warmed buffalo milk mozzarella served with fresh tomatoes, an herb and radish puree served on a toasted baguette, it is a homerun.
Another Italian staple that is a winner are the pastas. With fresh pastas like Pappardelle, Ricciatelle, Tagliatelle, to the more traditional Linguine, ravioli – there is something for everyone. We especially loved the rigatoni with braised rabbit, carrots, peas, black olives and sweet onion. This one dish represented everything that I love about being Italian and it’s spectacular cuisine that features heartiness, saltiness, sweetness and depth of flavor.
A visit to Pagani will make you as as fervent of a devotee as me.
289 Bleecker Street
NY, NY 10014