By Dane Feldman
The Maltagliati. Photos by Dane Feldman.
Pisticci is an Italian restaurant located on La Salle Street between Broadway and Claremont Ave in Harlem. The neighborhood, family-owned favorite is also the first restaurant in the city to completely erase its carbon footprint.
The prosciutto e spinaci.
The restaurant serves “from scratch” Italian fare for year-round brunch, lunch, and dinner. I dined here with a group for a friend’s birthday and was therefore lucky enough to try a few of the items on the dinner menu, which is divided into several sections: insalate, antipasti, zuppe, sides, la buona pasta, and entrees.
We ordered the prosciutto e spinaci (spaghetti with prosciutto, fresh spinach, garlic, onions, and olive oil), the orecchiette broccoli rabe pasta shells (bitter grins and pepperoncino in a rich broth with spicy sausage), and the maltagliati with ricotta, spinach, and lamb (lamb ragu served over flat pasta with fresh spinach and ricotta).
The pastas were delicious, the lamb ragu was rich and indulgent, and the vegetables were as fresh as can be. The restaurant also serves grilled fish, chicken, steak, and loads of appetizers and small plates.
With some of the lowest prices I’ve seen, it seems Pisticci’s food is nothing short of a steal.
It is worth noting that some of the cocktails will run you up as much as the cheaper entrees, but this is where patrons should splurge. Pisticci offers wine, beer, and an impressive list of cheeky cocktails. I ordered the lavender gin martini with St Germain and lemon, which was loaded with subtle aromatic notes and just a hint of tang perfect for pairing with the spinach and pasta.
The wait staff is extremely friendly, attentive, and knowledgeable. We were without the sixth member of our party for a majority of the night and our waiter made sure to have her meal ready for her as soon as she walked in.
The restaurant itself is absolutely beautiful and spans about half of the block. There are two bars and three seating areas, which are dimly lit and rustically decorated. The space truly pays homage to its roots and is as authentic as can be.
Pisticci is one of New York’s best-kept secrets for those who live outside of the immediate area, but those who do live nearby know that a table isn’t easy to obtain. Reservations are your friend here and once you’re in, you’ll be treated like royalty.