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89th And Broke

I'm a young professional living in Astoria (formerly of Williamsburg, the UES and Murray Hill - I move a lot!). I'm always looking for something fun to do or the best place to grab a drink and dinner at an affordable price around the city. Have a suggestion? Email me at Laura AT 89thandbroke DOT com.

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A Little Bit of Italy for $11

On my walk home from work I noticed a small Italian restaurant next to Vezzo with a hand-written sign outside promoting a new deal: $11 for a pasta dish and a glass of wine. I certainly liked the sound of that, so I mentally checked Da’ Giulio as a place to try, but it took me several weeks to actually get there. However, a few Friday nights ago I finally made it and was quite pleased.

The atmosphere isn’t anything to write home about. There are about 10 tables in the restaurant, and the décor is a bit outdated, but it was cute enough. They start every table off with a small plate of free h’ourderves – this always wins BIG points with me, so I was already enjoying myself within the first five minutes. They served a small polenta rhombus shaped thing, arancini and a piece of bruschetta. It was good and I was very appreciative.

I ordered a glass of the merlot as my wine of choice and my friend had the pinot grigio. The wines were good, but really, unless it’s sour or too sweet, I don’t complain and drink it happily.

I went with my favorite, gnocchi, and it came with a veal ragout. I don’t eat veal, so I was a little hesitant about this sauce but I thought I’d give it a go anyway. I wish I didn’t.

The gnocchi were delicious and they felt like soft, little pillows of dough, just as they should. And the portion size was big enough for some leftovers, but unfortunately I didn’t want to take any home. The veal ragout sauce was just weird to me. I couldn’t get any flavor from the veal, but I did notice the difference it made in the texture. It was mealy, almost like a piece of bread was soaked in the sauce for 24 hours and it started to decompose and break apart in small little pieces. I was not a fan. However, I would go back and get the gnocchi again, but in a different sauce.

My friend had the Riggatoni Da’ Giulio with prosciutto, shitake mushrooms and artichokes in a mascarpone sauce, and it was quite good. I’m not a big fan of riggatoni (to me the different pasta shapes actually do taste differently), but the sauce was great – very flavorful and the mascarpone cheese gave it a creamy texture without being too heavy. I would definitely recommend this dish for those who enjoy cream-based sauces.

All in all we enjoyed some free appetizers, a glass of wine and a pasta dish for only $11 each, plus tax and tip. Despite my disappointment with the veal ragout sauce, I highly recommend Da’ Giulio for a cheap and delicious Italian dinner. It may not be the best Italian around, but it’s hard to beat the value.

The Basics
Name: Da’ Guilo
Location:  176 Lexington Avenue at 31st Street
Who to bring: Friends, Date
Price: An excellent value. $$
Overall:  Great deal, good food. 4 Stars

Da Giulio on Urbanspoon

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