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Thursday, October 14, 2010


When my Mom was in town returning my little Boo, I mentioned we should try some new restaurants. I always get really excited about trying new restaurants because there are so many in New York City. I hope to one day try them all. Obviously, I know that can't and won't happen but, it's worth trying to eat at as many as possible! 

Well, it turns out one of the new restaurants we tried was far from new, except for that of the interior.  Emilio Vitolo's restaurant Ballato's recently received not only a face lift but more like a whole new image. It didn't even move, but it extended enough to have another entrance around the block on Mott Street. I am so happy that it did, or I would never have found this wonderful little gem. 

I guess I can admit it, if the restaurant doesn't look cute, adorable, or have an amazing design concept (like Tartinery NoLita) I don't find it appealing. I'm a little bit of a restaurant design snob. I live in New York City! Come on, I'm not the only one! I would never have stopped to look twice at the original location of Ballato's. In fact, I've walked by it hundreds of times and didn't even know it was there until they remodeled this new addition and entrance. 

Since my return from Italy, I love saying that, I feel I have a little more experience on the whole Italian food subject. My favorite Italian restaurant in New York City still remains Bianca however, I can always add more to that favorite list! I believe Ballato's might be one of them. 

Right from the start I had a good feeling about the restaurant because the bread was delicious! Although, in Italy, I didn't like the bread at all! It tasted like nothing. I wanted to salt my bread and of course there was no salt. Dousing the bread with olive oil didn't even help. It's time to break the news to you my friends, bread in the United States is SO much better than the bread in Italy. 

My Mom and I shared the Caesar Salad. I haven't had a Caesar Salad in NYC in forever! This is probably for the fact that people in NYC try to make their Caesar Salad's fancy by adding too much which ruins it for me. They also add a lot of anchovy's. I am not an anchovy girl. This Caesar Salad was so simple and perfect and actually a real Caesar Salad. This is exactly why I loved Ballato's, everything was so simple and delicious. 

For our main course we both decided on pastas. How can you go to an Italian restaurant and not have pasta? That is a sin to me. I decided on one of the pasta specials and Mom had the Rigatoni alla Bolognese. 

The Rigatoni alla Bolognese comes in a thick sauce with beef, veal, and pork. It was simple, like everything else, fresh, perfectly cooked and delicious! It is such a classic dish that so many people screw up by trying to make it too fancy. Ballato's keeps it just that, classic!

My pasta special was also amazing. I have been online googling pasta types now for about an hour trying to figure out exactly the pasta noodle that was in the special pasta. It was unique and I had never had it before. This is how I explain it to friends: You know how lasagna noodles have that ribbon effect on the edges? Well, it's like you took a knife and cut the ribbon section off so one half of the noodle has the ribbon section and the other is straight. That is what the noodle looked like. 

Ok, I just found some images which help to better explain what I am talking about.

To top it off they added an amazing red sauce with a generous helping of fresh ricotta cheese in the middle. The flavors all together were amazing. The dish was so simple and so flavorful (cue sparks flying) I have told all of my friends about it! I even tried to recreate it at home. I wasn't as successful as I had hoped, but how can you go too wrong with pasta, tomato sauce and ricotta cheese?

I have heard from my local neighborhood friends that Ballato's is all one of their favorite restaurants. In all the articles I have read that Ballato's has a clubbiness feel. I cannot judge seeing that I have not dined in the original part of Ballato's. 

There are two entrances now. One off of Houston and one off of Mott Street. We entered off of Mott Street which is the new renovated more modern section. The front facade is very attractive with the floor to ceiling glass walls. 

The interior of old section is very rustic and has that down home real Italian feel with the plaster walls that are old and crumbling covered by collages of picture frames and mirrors.

The original portion of Ballato's is known to have a very cozy and neighborhoody feel. It is even known to have some very famous guests! 

"A private dining space in back has hosted celebs like Billy Joel, Lenny Kravitz, and Tom Hanks, while a central-casting mix of outer-borough Italians, younger locals, and wide-eyed tourists people the spare main dining room." 
- NY Magazine

Rihanna has also recently made an appearance! 

"That place has always been so low-key, but more and more people are finding out about it — it was packed, and it was a Tuesday night ... and then Rihanna came in! There were like twenty paparazzi guys outside, I saw all these flashes and was like "What's going on?" She walked in, and I was like oh, I guess the restaurant is catching on! I didn't see what she ordered, but if she was smart she got the spaghetti pomodoro or the meatballs, which are incredible." 
- Katie Lee Grub Street

The new portion of Ballato's is much fancier. As previously mentioned, the front facade is floor to ceiling glass which allows for people walking around at night to see easily into the beautiful dining room.  There are crystal chandeliers and freshly finished stucco walls.  I know I will visit again soon and will take some photos to share. Unfortunately, since the new section just recently opened, there are no pictures I can snag off the internet at the moment! 

We decided to pass on dessert so our pants wouldn't explode before we got home. Actually, I believe I was wearing tights for that exact reason. After a few glass of red wine, each, and a wonderful meal, we were two happy little campers ready to go home, watch a feel good movie and cuddle up with the little love bug! 

I will soon be a returning guest myself. Apparently I missed the homemade sausage bread. I don't know how that is possible. If there is one thing I love more than bread in this world, it would be sausage bread. My middle name should be carbs! I would also like to try a bottle of wine from his own label which is produced by a Tuscan friend. 


  1. Came to your blog via Twitter, and I think I'm in love. Though I'm also hungry. I think I can live with that though.

    Definitely following now & will visit regularly!

  2. I really like the look of the older area of the restaurant. I think "cozy" and "neighborhoody" are perfect words to describe it. Although I'm not sure "neighborhoody" is actually a word. Haha.

    If I lived in New York, I would want to eat my way through the entire city, too. I say go for it. Then you can write a book about it and recommend all the best restaurants to people. :)

  3. Elle- PlainpinkangelOctober 15, 2010 at 12:13 AM

    I love how you describe restaurants and foods in New York as I feel like I am right there seeing these things for myself! Love the pictures! I think I learn something new every time I come to your blog! I'm sure you will get more people to follow your blog as it is so interesting and insightful! NOW I want to go to New York! My best friend is going to New York to visit! Now I may know places to visit! Thanks Alexis! :)