Aunt Jake’s (2 locations) On any given day Aunt Jake’s offers ten different shapes and flavors of handmade pasta starting at $14. EVERY day. Hold on to your hats, you can also mix and match your pastas with a dozen sauces like Roasted Garlic Pecorino, Chicken Bolognese and Spicy Arrabiata. The amount of homemade pastas and menu choices is happily overwhelming. My favorite sauces are Broken Meatball and Sunday Sauce with short rib, sausage and veal. You really can’t go wrong but plan on revisiting to try all the combinations. Also consider specials like Sweet Potato Gnocchi with pulled pork and Amaretto crumble or the Three Cheese Meat Lasagna with ground meat and short rib ($21). If you want to learn to make pasta, sign up for an hour and a half class for $35 where you get to taste your creations. Dish portions are offered for one person or family size for a few dollars more. In short, you will definitely need to revisit Aunt Jake’s to sample their delicious Italian pastas, sauces and entrees.
Osteria Morini (218 Lafayette Street) With more than a dozen homemade pasta choices ($24) Osteria Morini consistently delivers perfect al dente pasta from Chef Michael White. The preparation changes but I love the spring onion pesto and pine nuts. Even the decor was dismantled from components of an Italian 1700s-era farmhouse capturing the feeling of the Emilia-Romagna region in northern Italy. At the bar from 3-6 p.m. Monday through Thursday espresso is $1, Peroni ponies are $2.50 and wine and spritzes $5. Happy hour appetizers range from $5-$9 and include a Truffle and Pecorino Fritter and a a sandwich filled with mortadella, marinated peppers and provolone. Every Monday night after 9 p.m. all pastas are only $12. When I visit, I always get a pasta to share for dessert. I choose whatever pasta has a fruity or nutty sauce. Seriously.
Da Andrea (35 West 13th Street) Da Andrea is one of those neighborhood gems you hope is kept secret so you can get a table anytime. The word is out on this homemade pasta trattoria serving housemade pasta and northern Italian standards. They offer a dozen delicate pastas like Ravioli di Vitello ($16.50) with veal, spinach, mushrooms and ham or Fettuccine di Zafferano ($15) with saffron fettuccine, vegetables and black olive puree. The seafood dishes also rock and are affordable including Zuppa di Pesce for $23.50. You’ve got to love any restaurant that starts a meal with warm crusty bread and olive oil. They only take reservations for four or more and can have a wait on weekends but it is well worth it.