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Eaters' Journal 8/22/08: JoeDoe, Bocca di Bacco, Vintage Irving, Peasant Wine Bar

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Krieger, 8/12/08

Bocca di Bacco: As surprising, and disorienting, as it was to be on 9th and 54th street, it was equally shocking to find this restaurant—part wine bar and part legitimate, not a backhandedly pretentious (looking at you, I Sodi) rustic Italian joint. The menu is teeming with the requisite fare, such as lamb chops, polpeti, and grilled octopus. Some of it is actually pretty decent. I'd order again both the cuttlefish with polenta—note both items needed on every bite— and the very straightforward branzino with broc rabe and roasted potatoes. Low light and dark woods and the right company make up for the ridiculous simulated wine barrels hanging on the walls. Might even go so far as to say it's a Theatre District sleeper.— BL

JoeDoe: Newcomer JoeDoe comes off as a restaurant that means well. The owners are friendly, it seems like they genuinely want to be liked by the neighbors, and they serve huge portions at modest prices. However the food is disappointing and somewhat bafflingly presented. It's the heaviest menu I've seen all summer first off—beer braised and cream sauce this, stuffed and fried that—and we just felt fatigued halfway through the entrees. That said, big potential to improve.— Kludt

Vintage Irving: The three biggest turnoffs here are the following: the cheap looking blinds (above), the gummy gnocchi, and the sliding door connecting the space to the sports bar next door which, when open, allows for the sounds of the games and the smell of burgers to overcome the wine bar. If you have to get food, stick to the cheese and meat plates (or go next door for a burger). Otherwise, the wine list is decent, and it's a fine place to get a drink in the neighborhood.—Kludt

Peasant Wine Bar: Now this is wine bar that's doing it right. The downstairs bar at Peasant is a reliable favorite, but a recent spot check reconfirms: attentive service, the typical beautiful Nolita crowd, great wine selection, impressive but simple panini. And free olives, natch.— Kludt

Peasant

194 Elizabeth Street, Manhattan, NY 10012 (212) 965-9511 Visit Website

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