|Chicken Scarpariello...worth every penny|
The space itself consists of three rooms - one Siberia area by the front door and bar, another main dining room and one in the back. The dark green walls are lined with various artwork, the ceilings adorned with vintage-looking chandeliers and the floors are made from Godfather-inspired black-and-white tile. The waiters (average age 65) greet you with "Buona Sera," are dressed in maroon tuxedos and mix up Caesar salad table-side. Dessert trays are whisked about 1960s-style and music straight off the Moonstruck soundtrack blasts in every room ("That's Amore," etc.). Our sommelier was exceptionally friendly, in fact all of the staff was very friendly. Thankfully, there's no pretension going on within these walls, because at these prices, there shouldn't be. The menus are comically large and the cocktail list includes around ten old-school drinks (Mai Tai, Margarita etc.), all of which are $17.
We tried the table-side Caesar, the black tie lobster pasta, the spicy rigatoni with vodka sauce and the chicken scarpariello. With two bottles of wine and the above menu items, our bill was a whopper at $243 pre tip. Oddly, we don't feel any remorse - the food here is ridiculously good, it's just kind of too expensive for most normal humans. (Aziz Ansari was there last night - he can afford it.) If you can score a reservation (right now it's a bit tough) it's perfect for indulging your deep-seated love of Italian-American fare - just be prepared to cough up the scharole.
The Details: 181 Thompson St.; 212-254-3000