Today Pete Wells finds hope for the future of red sauce joints in his Times review of Don Angie, the Italian-American West Village newcomer that’s backed by the Quality Italian team. Wells has been a reliable fan of everything Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone have done for the genre at their restaurants Carbone and Parm, so it’s high praise when he says that duo has “passed the torch” to chefs Angie Rito and Scott Tacinelli at Don Angie.
He particularly marvels at the garganelli, which solves one of his greatest gripes with Italian-American food:
Pasta and meatballs are always served together, but they remain stubbornly separate. Ms. Rito and Mr. Tacinelli have found a way out of this conundrum by crushing meatballs into a tomato-guanciale ragù. It’s not quite as simple as I’ve made it sound, but you don’t know that when you’re eating it; you just think you’re magically eating meatballs and pasta at the same time.
Wells notes that Rito and Tacinelli are good at trotting out Instagram bait and that they weave the flavors of Asia into Italian-American staples. Although he isn’t totally sold on the “abracadabra,” he says the food is still “creative in a more interesting and more consistently successful way than it was at Quality Italian.”
He calls the Rito-Tacinelli menu “more radical” than the Torrisi-Carbone style and specifically calls out the melon salad, veal cutlet, grilled fish, and mocha cake as favorites. Two stars.