Elaine Lapersonerie, whose Wink PR handles PR for Stuzzicheria, invited me to the restaurant for lunch last week. I’m usually up for a free lunch, but I was especially curious to see if Stuzzicheria had regained its form. When it opened it was a great little neighborhood restaurant, and then a new chef came in and tried to turn it into something fancier (or at least more expensive), and for me, it lost what made it charming. Paul Di Bari, who had devised the initial menu when he was chef at then-sibling Bar Stuzzichini in the Flatiron District, is now cooking at Stuzzicheria, and I’m pleased to report that the prices are once again reasonable, the country touches are gone, and many of the old favorites—if not the cavatelli and ricotta crespelle [pout]—are back on the menu.
Chief among those old favorites, at least in the Stuzzicheria team’s view, is the pane panelle (pictured above), a sandwich made with chickpea fritters, ricotta, and Caciocavello cheese. They weren’t the only ones to love it: Last year, New York magazine named it one of the city’s 101 best sandwiches. What was it ranked?
To win one of three two one (two got snapped up) $20 gift card to Stuzzicheria, email the correct answer to firstname.lastname@example.org. It was ranked #2.
As you may already know, next Wednesday (Sept. 7) the owners of Stuzzicheria are opening a pocket sandwich shop, be called Pane Panelle, at the Church Street entrance. Here’s a first look at the menu:
Arancina Siciliana $5
Rice croquette filled with meat ragu and mozzarella
Pane e Panelle $8
Chickpea fritters, ricotta, Caciocavallo [unlike the version you may recall from Stuzzicheria, this one is full-size, not sliders]
Melanzane e Panelle $9
Chickpea fritters, fried eggplant, tomato Sauce, mortadella, Pecorino, ricotta
Panelle Parmigiano $9
Chickpea fritters, mozzarella, pecorino, tomato sauce
Meatball Parm $9
Meatballs, mozzarella, on ciabatta
Meatballs by the pint $10
Select salumi, provolone, olive salad, on round semolina
Vastedda Linguetta …… 9
Spin-off of the traditional spleen sandwich sautéed in lard: pan-roasted beef tongue, ricotta, Caciocavallo
All the sandwiches are made with Grandaisy bread, and come winter, weekly soup specials will be added to the menu. Pane Panelle will be open all week from noon to 6 p.m., and you can get food delivered anywhere between Broome and Murray and Greenwich and Lafayette.