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Feast of the Seven Fishes at Stuzzicheria

Stuzzicheria, the Italian small-plates restaurant in Tribeca, offered the Christmas season’s cheapest Feast of the Seven Fishes, at $49.

It turned out to be an even better bargain than I expected, because the restaurant put out only one serving for my son and me to share, whereas I was fully expecting to pay $49 each. With bread (below left) and a shared dessert, the whole bill was just $70.25 before tax and tip.

A copy of the menu is shown above; click on the image for a larger version. Strangely, the dishes were not served in the order stated. The food was unremarkable: a good home cook could do about as well, although not without slaving in the kitchen all day. This took about an hour.

1. Crostino: Marinated white anchovy & fresh mozzarella (above left)

2. Insalata di Calamari: celery, lemon & red chili (above right)

3. Vongole: baked Little Neck clams oreganata style (above left)

4. Agro Dolce: sweet & sour fried flounder (above right), probably the most enjoyable dish

5. Bacala Casserole: potato, cippolini onions & tomato (above left)

6. Gamberetti: grilled prawns [sic] scampi style (above right). Despite the description, you can see that it is only one prawn.

7. Sardina: grilled sardine, fennel, pinoli & raisins.

Dessert, beignets with (if I recall correctly) almond ice cream (above right) was very good.

Everything but the dessert and the flounder was frankly forgettable, and a couple of the dishes (the prawn, the sardine) weren’t really well designed for sharing. My son wasn’t fond of these dishes, but he put up with them gamely.

My feeling about this place, as it was when I visited in September, is that the flavors and the ambition are distinctly timid. The service wasn’t bad, allowing for the price point. The restaurant was a bit over half full on Christmas Eve.

Stuzzicheria (305 Church Street at Walker Street, Tribeca)

Reader Comments (2)

Was this the best you could come with for Christmas Eve? The choice seems as uninspired as the food.

January 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNB

It is easy to describe a choice as uninspired in hindsight. In order to find the pleasant surprises, one must be prepared to take some risks.

If the food wasn’t inspired, it wasn’t terrible either, and many of the other places I considered would have cost about three times as much. Also, some of those places would have required reservations, and for reasons too tedious to go into, I wasn’t sure I could commit to a particular time.

January 4, 2011 | Registered CommenterMarc Shepherd

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