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“small plates--great flavor”
Review of Bucato - CLOSED

Bucato
Cuisines: Italian
Dining options: Breakfast, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Reservations
Reviewed May 8, 2014

By having small plates, we were able to enjoy several choices. The handmade pasta used in several selections was exceptionally good. They obviously use high quality meats, fish and produce. We loved the stringozzi pasta with pecorino cheese and pepper was real comfort food. The capunti pasta with pistachio pasta was also wonderful. The orecchiette pork belly, rapini, chilis had a crunchy topping of breadcrumbs for a perfect crunch. We also had the striped bass and lamb chops---the bass was lovely. But the lamb chops took the prize for the evening. Absolutely perfectly prepared. Our server was very knowledgeable and friendly.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
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    • Food
1  Thank Buttercup60
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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29 - 33 of 47 reviews

Reviewed April 28, 2014

"But Funke's cacio e pepe breaks almost every rule. Instead of using die-cut dried pasta, he makes the dish with spaghetti alla chitarra, fresh pasta cut into strands by pressing it through a device that looks a little like an autoharp. He cooks the pasta to a curly softness. The sauce is enriched with butter. It is served in a tiny portion, barely filling the center of an appetizer bowl rather than spilling out in Roman extravagance. Cracked pepper coats the spaghetti, but in this context the scent is more perfumed than punishing; almost exotic. As cacio e pepe, Funke's version fails. But as dinner, it is rather glorious"

A quote from Jonathan Gold's review of Bucato back in October of 2013. That quote cause me to change my reservation from Chi Spacca to Bucato last Saturday. Also, one of the biggest reasons was my wife is 16 weeks pregnant and is does not want to eat any medium rare meat nor their tomahawk porkchop. Chi Spacca is a meat-centric restaurant and unfortunately, the wife won't enjoy the dinner.

So off to bucato we go. Bucato's interior is very nice, modern, open kitchen with a open flame wood-fire grill which Chef Evan Funke is manning.

We started off by sharing their Focaccia bread which had roasted tomato, green garlic, and olive oil spread on top, while delicious, I would like for my Focaccia bread to have more body, Bucato's version was soft and by spreading the sauce on top, it caused the bread to soak up the delicious sauce and olive oil that turned the top part of the bread soggy. If they had crisped up the bread longer it would have been wonderfully good.

My wife ordered Cacio e pepe. Before I review their Cacio e pepe, I would just like to say that we've been to Rome and we've tasted the cacio e pepe at Roma Sparita that Anthony Bourdain raved about in his show "No reservation". I was basing my comparison off that specific dish. I'm sad to say that I did not enjoy it. Jonathan Gold did, alot of chowhound members loved it, but I was disappointed. They did use fresh pasta which I thought was still undercooked, it was still a little raw in the center. The black pepper overpowered the dish completely, no balance whatsoever, unfortunately, the dish fell short of expectations.

I ordered the Orecchiette with the pork belly sugo, english peas, green garlic, chili, and pecorino staggionato. This was a wonderful pasta, the orecchiette was cooked al dente, the sauce was great, better than Bestia's version. The peas gave a nice contrast with the al dente pasta by giving the bite a nice snap to it. Well balanced dish. I would order the Orecchiette over the Cacio.

Our main consisted their off menu $100 32 day dry-aged ribeye. It comes with mushroom polenta and wild arugula salad. The mistake was the first steak they brought out was their other off-menu beef, it was a 33 day old Bistecca alla Fiorentina which they said it was a t-bone. Foodies know that real Bistecca is from the porterhouse and atleast 6 months of dry-aging is required. I've had it in Florence is you will not find it anywhere here thus, I picked the ribeye as a safer bet.

So my wife and I looked at each other and I said "I ordered the ribeye didn't I?" so I decided I was going to send the beef back and order what I want in the beginning (I gave up beef for lent and waited for another week to eat beef). So when I told the server that brought out the side, he said "oh...well, the bistecca is wonderful too! it's delicious and i've had it before. but if you want, we can change it but it will take 30-40 minutes to cook and you can have this one already." It was just an awkward 3-4 minute conservation where he was pushing me to just take the bistecca t-bone and not order the ribeye but at the same time he did say "I don't want to influence your decision but if you want the ribeye then we'll cook it for you." I said yes, I want the ribeye. So off he went, taking the polenta and the steak. I see him talking to the Chef and 3 minutes later, he comes back "You want the $100 ribeye correct?" "Yes, please". It was just an awkward conversation with that particular server, I wish I was talking to our main server but he was that there.

To tell you the truth, I was not angry or hostile, I actually felt sorry for the mistake but my wife and I were nice about it. What's great is that we got an extra 40 minutes to talk to each other and I loved it.

What's also cool is that when our server finally came out, he was apologetic, said it was his mistake for the boo-boo and was apologetic throughout the evening which we told him it was not a big deal and mistakes happen. No one is going to die with a mistake like that, that's why we took it so lightly. The manager also came to us apologizing for the mistake and was giving us updates when the beef will be cooked.

Our main server even asked us if we wanted a pasta which will be on the house because of the long wait which we declined and not needed.

Once the steak came out, it was wonderful to look at, perfectly medium rare, great color, and it was meatgasm. The meat itself was perfectly cooked and perfectly seasoned. What could have been better is that it's not as soft as you'd like it to be compared to let's say, a ribeye from Mastro's however I like the simplicity of the steak here. Thick salt + pepper is all you need. The meat itself was sweet but like I said, it was not as soft as you'd like it to be.

Before we left, the manager came back to our table once again, apologizing, and gave us her card to call her when we would like to come back in the future. They were not short of accepting the mistake and as a consumer, I appreciated that very much.

Take note, they only take reservations on the same day starting at 9:30am.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
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    • Food
Thank Jay M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 24, 2014

The restaurant was too noisy, the waitress couldn't hear us when taking the order. The service was sloppy, the server spilled my beer without even acknowledging. The food is good and portions are perfect but with that service and ambiance. I'll think twice before going back.

Thank Z R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 23, 2014

There is no doubt that Bucato's deserves 5 stars for their food. The hand-made pasta is the best I have ever had. The simplicity of the spaghetti with pepper and pecorino cheese was one of the best things I've tasted. The batard with goat butter and grey sea salt was both beautiful and delicious. The focaccia was light and airy....and amazing. As others have said in their reviews, the plates are very small. We were a party of 6 and although they suggest to order "family style"..... The portions are barely enough for one person. It is such a small restaurant that it is better suited for much smaller parties since most of the tables inside are 2 top tables. We sat outside....the cushions for the booths were white and stained and the tables were sticky. Considering the cost of the food....a table cloth would have been nice. Also....the only other restaurant I've eaten at that had only same day reservations was the French Laundry in Napa. Once you sat down....they expressed their appreciation for the hassle it was to make the reservation. At Bucato's, our waitress acted more annoyed that we were there. And with a large party and there to celebrate a birthday....the no cell phone or pictures....was ridiculous. I suppose they are striving for the mystique of a French Laundry....but need to clean their cushions....allow cameras....make their pasta portions larger....and hire staff with personalities.

    • Value
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    • Food
Thank shrink711
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 23, 2014 via mobile

I go out to eat a lot and I'm all about the small plates, but the portions at this place are ridiculous. 3 bites of pasta does not constitute a plate of food no matter how few people in the entire US can make pasta this way. Went with a friend and split 3 plates and dessert and left starving.

Also, the no picture policy. I get that you have one, but when asked why don't tell me it's cause "we don't want people taking pics of celebs." No one cares if there are celebs there and if your food is really that awesome you would appreciate the compliment if someone wants to take a pic of the once in a lifetime pasta.

On the bright side the octopus dish and the date dessert were delicious.

Thank Smk0701
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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