Oh, Tuscany!

by Michael Gross Photographed by courtesy Ristoro del Cinghale
Monday, November 5, 2018

New Yorkers longing for a real taste of Tuscany, i.e. unreconstructed and unapologetic carnivores, can indulge themselves at a restaurant that opened just a few weeks ago.  Ristoro del Cinghale, at 122 East 27th Street, carved from the space long occupied by the 24-year-old Pugliese institution, i Trulli, and run by its founder and proprietor Nicola Marzovilla and his chef Ben Smallman (whose resume includes stints at The Modern and Gabriel Kruether),  delights the taste buds with a game-stuffed menu, and the senses with rustic decor vaguely reminiscent of NoHo’s Il Buco Alimentari, including a fireplace and back yard dining area shared with its parent.

Though the wild boar of the restaurant’s name comes from California, not Chianti (where was inspired to open his latest restaurant and Marzovilla’s family owns two vineyards ), the experience is pure Italian, from the house-baked focaccia that will spoil any diet regimen, to the Massoferrato sangiovese wines of the family’s vineyards in Impruneta, south of Florence.

Boar appears in almost every section of the menu, from the prosciutto di cinghale salumeria starter (which pairs wonderfully some Tuscan pecorino), to the Pappardelle dei Ristoro, made with wild boar sausage-based sauce, rosticciana of wild boar, whole pigs’ head and roasted rack of wild boar for two snuffling among the secondi piatti. Several dishes are prepared for parties of two, assuming shared tastes.  If your party is split over wild pig, there’s also Cacciucco, a fisherman’s stew from Livorno, Faraona (aka Guinea Hen), or a classic Bistecca Fiorentina, the most expensive menu item at $98 for two.

While the wine list is extensive, ranging from modest bottles to delectable Super Tuscans, Marzovilla nudges diners towards his six different Negroni cocktails.  They’re a perfect way to wash down a literal pig-out.  Mangia!


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