Entries in Trattoria Dopo Teatro (2)


Trattoria Dopo Teatro


My son and I walked into Trattoria Dopo Teatro in December 2005. It was mostly an act of desperation: we were hungry, and in the Theater District it’s hard to find anything much better than Olive Garden. I was surprised to find very respectable standard Italian fare and designer pizzas prepared in a wood-burning oven, all prepared conscientiously in spite of the crushing load of tourists on their way to a show.

The other night, we actually made a 6:15 p.m. reservation, though I don’t know why we bothered. We found a long line snaking out the door. After about 15 minutes, we finally got to the hostess station, and told her we had a reservation. “So does everyone else,” she said. It seemed almost random—like winning the lottery—when another hostess picked us out of the scrum of hapless souls waiting around the bar, and took us to a table.

Last time, we were seated at a two-top near the front window, so I hadn’t appreciated the size of the place. There’s a rabbit’s warren of rooms on two levels, with names like “The Secret Garden,” “The Theater Room,” “The American Room,” “The Grappa Room,” and “The Wine Cellar.” They must be able to accommodate hundreds of people. Despite that, the kitchen manages to do a solid job while turning out the orders quickly.

Mezze Luni ai Porcini

I truly enjoyed half-moon ravioli stuffed with ground veal in a porcini mushroom sauce ($19.50)

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Mezzi Rigatoni alla Siciliana (left); Calamari Sabbiati (right)

My son didn’t much care for the half rigatoni in a light tomato sauce topped with eggplant, mozzarella and basil ($16.00). But the kitchen did well by baby calamari ($10.50), which were delicately sautéed and topped with breadcrumbs, in a generous portion for an appetizer.

The orders came out fast, but you had better know what you want, because you have only slim odds of flagging down a server later on. Near the end of the pre-theater rush, we saw the beginning of a transformation. Plain wooden table tops with paper placemats gave way to white tablecloths for those who would dine after 8:00 p.m., when things slow down considerably.

I can’t claim that there is anything unique about Trattoria Dopo Teatro, but for a meal before a show, it’s a solid option in a neighborhood where so many of the restaurants aren’t even worth writing about. And after curtain time, it might actually be a place worth hanging around.

Trattoria Dopo Teatro (125 W. 44th Street between Broadway & 6th Avenue, Theater District)

Food: *
Service: Harried
Ambiance: *½
Overall: *


Trattoria Dopo Teatro

Note: Click here for a more recent visit to Trattoria Dopo Teatro.

The “bow-tie” (named for the street pattern where Seventh Avenue and Broadway cross at Times Square) isn’t known for fine dining. On a Saturday in November, my 10-year-old son and I were getting hungry, and our options were dwindling. Neither McDonald’s nor Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Company seemed appealing. He doesn’t eat ribs, so Virgil’s BBQ was out.

In this culinary desert, Trattoria Dopo Teatro was a happy find. Perhaps nyc.com exaggerates when they say that it “has the feeling of a Trattoria that one might find near Rome’s Spanish steps.” Still, it is an attractive setting, located in a landmarked 1875 building. I especially liked the photos of the Italian movie stars that adorned the walls. According to the same site, “The restaurant has a beautiful interior garden, called ‘The Secret Garden.’ It has elaborate mosaic designs, beautiful paneling, a working waterfall, a cigar room and a GRAPPA library.”

Pizza from the wood-burning oven can be heartily recommended. The one I had featured tomato and prosciutto. It was cut in eight slices, but folded back on itself, so that one would eat two slices at a time, sandwich-style. I don’t recall a pizza being served that way, but it worked.

We arrived (without a reservation) at around 4:30pm, at about the time the Saturday matinee crowd were settling in for a post-theater supper. Luckily, we were seated immediately. I should think a restaurant in the Theater District would be adept at getting patrons in and out quickly, but service was erratic.

There is no children’s menu—a fact I wouldn’t ordinarily mention, except that one might expect it in this neighborhood. When I asked about it, the waiter said, “We have pizza and pasta.” My son was perfectly happy to have Penne Marinara (not actually on the menu, but any Italian restaurant can make it), although it came at an ‘adult’ price.

Trattoria Dopo Teatro (145 W. 44th Street, between 6th Ave & Broadway, Theater District)

Food: *
Service: Fair
Ambiance: *
Overall: *