While watching the opening match of the World Cup, Brazil v Croatia, at our über cool hotel roof top bar Soho House, we met Will, an architect from London now living in NYC. Will was one of the founding members of Soho House and is friends with the guy that started it years ago. We asked him for a restaurant recommendation – I felt like pasta and he suggested a little unpretentious family run restaurant about five blocks away in the West Village called Malaparte.
We followed his recommendation. After the game, which Brazil won 3-1, we walked five blocks, or more accurately stumbled as Zorba had enjoyed a few complementary cairpirinhas at Soho House’s roof top bar.
Malaparte Restaurant was busy, but there was a table for two outside. Tables were packed in tight. The menu was typically Italian and the wine list included Italian varietals. We ordered a bottle of Nero D’Avola, my favourite Sicilian red. For starters, I ordered polenta with mushrooms. Zorba ordered polenta with Italian sausage. Both dishes were divine. The polenta was creamy and smooth (not the grainy type) and the mushrooms were full of earthy flavour.
I quizzed the Italian waiter about the carbonara. Zorba loves spaghetti carbonara and almost always wants to order it when he sees it on a menu. I, on the other hand, am always cautious. We weren’t in Rome and there was every chance the carbonara would have cream or mushrooms or some other ingredient that does not belong in traditional dish. The waiter assured me it was made traditionally the without cream and contained a special type of pancetta. He seemed annoyed by my quizzing, but hey, if I’m paying for it, I want to know what I’m paying for.
We both opted for spaghetti carbonara, and wow, I’m so glad I did. It was full of flavour, the egg and parmesan sauce was silky and coated the spaghetti beautifully. It was a sensational version.
We got chatting to the local couple next to us. Even though they lived only a few blocks from Malaparte, they had never been there before. They said they would definitely return, and so will we if we find ourselves in New York again.
Thanks Will, your recommendation was a winner!
Verdict: No fuss family-run Italian restaurant serving great food. Service was adequately efficient if perhaps lacking a bit of warmth. 8.5 / 10
Malaparte Italian Restaurant
753 Washington St (Cnr Bethune St), Meat Packing District, NY 10014
+1 212 255 2122