First Impression: Stuzzicheria

My better other half and I went to dinner last night at Stuzzicheria, the new Bar Stuzzichini spin-off at Church and Walker. I had already been inside for last week’s pre-opening party, but I was looking forward to having an actual meal there.

Three high tables are placed near the entrance, with regular tables around the walls. It’s an appealing, casual space that already feels somewhat lived in, thanks to the scuffed tables. It’s not an adventurous room—there are the requisite Edison bulbs and dishtowel napkins, and Motown-era oldies on the stereo—save the fact that some of the seating is church pews, perhaps as a way to guarantee no one lingers too long. I hadn’t noticed the art before, but I quite liked it—witty photographs of contemporary Italy. (The menu noted the photographer’s name, but I neglected to write it down.) The restaurant was less than a third full—it was a stormy Sunday in August—and I’ll be interested to see/hear how noisy it gets on a busy night. While my partner was fine, I found the space oppressively warm, and I’m guessing the door was left open in order to woo customers who might think the restaurant hadn’t opened yet.

The food was a hit. Traditional entrées are available, but we liked sharing a bunch of smaller options (which was more in line with our eat-only-a-little-meat diet): a mild pecorino, finochietta salami, fried peperoncini, pane panelle sliders (made with chickpea fritters and ricotta, pictured at top), clams in a bacon broth, and tagliolini in a creamy lemon-pistachio sauce (which, as you can see from the photo below, went over very well.) Wine is sold in quartini instead of by the glass, and fairly priced. Everything was, actually, except maybe the $7 salami—it was delicious and sliced whisper-thin, but stacked it would’ve measured maybe a quarter of an inch.

All in all, Stuzzicheria struck me as a good neighborhood restaurant in a neighborhood that could use more of them. I just hope it doesn’t get so popular that its no-reservation policy keeps me away. Then again, if they’d bring over the orecchiette with cauliflower from Bar Stuzzichini, I’d happily wait in a long line….

Recent “First Impression” articles:
BLT Bar & Grill
Il Matto
Muscle Maker Grill
Plein Sud
Tamarind Tribeca



  1. That was you in corner? (I’m in the grey dress in the background of your slider photo.) Completely agree with your assessment but I would add that the Zeppole dessert should not be missed. In fact, I may go back this week just for those little balls of fried goodness.. This was my second visit as well — opening night the first — and the food was delicious both times. The A/C does seem to have a tough time keeping up but that seems be the case in many NY restaurants this summer. Looking forward to them working through the opening kinks and becoming a solid neighborhood go to spot.

  2. Too funny! (Did you think I was just some guy obsessed with photographing my meal?) Will definitely try the zeppole next time….