Pepolino 281 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013 feels like an Italian guy’s home. All the waiters are Italian men and probably 75% of diners are too. Everyone is nice. It’s pretty big (2 floors + outside) but cozy, moderately disorganized, and as loud as a frat house. They seated us with half of our party missing, allow for cakes with no plating charge (big points here), and even gave us containers to pack our left-over cupcakes. It did take a really long time for a bottle of wine to come, but it’s forgiven since they do seem to try.

The baskets of cold, borderline stale, bread was served with a tomato flan. It tasted like a solid jello-like  form of tomato and oil, which is not appealing by itself or spread on bread.

Tomato Flan and Bread

Note: Even though I did as much as I could to edit the pictures, they still look yellow, and that’s because they have yellow lights everywhere.

Appetizers gave me the sense that they generally used very fresh ingredients, but that the chef here lacks control. The Carpaccio with mushrooms and shredded cheese would have been really nice had it not been over-powered by twigs of rosemary, as in 8 to 10 leaves per clump.

Warm Carpaccio 2

Then the Beet Salad exhibited the same problem, having been sliced pretty thin, but paired with matchstick sized orange peels.

Beet Salad

For the antipasto plate, why not change the bruschetta part to something else during NY winters, when they clearly have seasonal depression.

Cured Meat and Cheese plate

One appetizer did float my boat, the mussels pulled form the shell and tossed in a wonderfully simple butter and chive sauce. It seemed elegant and almost out of place.

Mussels in Butter Chive Sauce

When entrees came, it was one of those evening where no really talked about the food. There wasn’t too much complaining, but there wasn’t any familiar moans and groans, no yums or try this.

Veal Tortellini Angel Hair and Clams

The Wild Boar Stew, though probably the best of the entrees, was spooned over some roasted acorn squash, and just seemed like a weeknight dinner anyone could have made.

Wild Boar with Acorn Squash

You can tell I wasn’t thrilled with this place, but at the same time, it wasn’t bad. It was just super forgettable, and that’s such a shame because I love places where you can bring a birthday cake and make reservations. Ah well.

posted by jessica at 01:18 PM Filed under Italian, Restaurants. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.