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When I told my boyfriend we’d be dining at Gnocco, an unassuming Italian restaurant nestled on East 10th Street, he immediately changed his tune about trekking to the East Village from Astoria. When living in Stuytown years ago, Gnocco was a staple for him and his friends, visiting family members and even weeknight deliveries.

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That seems to be a common thread with Gnocco – a beloved dining establishment for the neighborhood locals. This July, Gnocco will be celebrating its 20th anniversary at the helm of Owner/Executive Chef Gian Luca Giovanetti and will no doubt remain a stronghold in the East Village.

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This artisanal Italian restaurant serves both a casual ambiance and top-quality cuisine straight from the “recipe books” of Italy. Many of the fresh ingredients are imported from Italy putting an emphasis on authenticity and a high-quality dining experience.

Gnocco, photo by Socially Superlative (3) Gnocco, photo by Socially Superlative (5)

A seasonal rotating menu spotlights the Emilia-Romagna culinary tradition ensuring that regular customers come back for more while new diners are can also try the mainstay dishes. Guests of Gnocco are also treated to a high-level menu experience in which all dishes are photographed and described on a glowing I-Pad with wine pairing recommendations for each. An extensive Italian wine list, a selection of Italian beers, and full bar round out the experience.

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The Chef graciously met us table side, greeting us as if we were old friends. He fondly shared with us his favorite dishes, highlighting those menu items that reminded him of childhood like the Gnocco for which his restaurant is name. Food needs to be stimulating for all five of the senses, with a great variety, and that is how he sets forth with creating both shareable and main dish options.

Highlights included:

  • Gnocco, their namesake appetizer, is exclusively found at the restaurant made with homemade deep-fried dough puffs using flour zero, milk, EVOO and sparkling water, served with prosciutto di Parma and Italian cold cuts. The dough is light and air, yet crunchy and digestible due to the slowing down of the rising. The dough sits 48 hours in the fridge so to settle before prepared. Rosemary is a finishing touch.
  • Arancini di Riso are sizable and perfectly fried traditional rice balls and stuffed with vegetables mozzarella spicy tomato sauce on the side.
  • Caprino Tiepido is a salad you should not sleep on with warm goat cheese on bread, honey, golden raisins, pine nuts on a bed of greens.
  • Rosseta Pasta is a romantic rose shaped dish of delicate baked dough, cheese, ham and hint of truffle.
  • Carpaccio di Polpo with celery, pink peppercorn and lemon vinaigrette.
  • Pastas include Classic Carbonara, Fusilli Piccanti, Gnocchetti al Pomodoro e Mozzarella and Reginette Gorgonzola e Noci.
  • On the rotating specials, the homemade fresh artisanal pasta specials include: Lasagna Emiliana with layers of spinach fresh pasta with beef, veal and pork ragu and a silky béchamel sauce, among other selections of mouth-watering pastas.
  • Maialino Al Latte is a pork dish that stems from Chef’s family dinners in Modena, the tender and melt in your mouth pork is served with creamy mashed potatoes and spinach.
  • Pizza is something you can’t go wrong with at Gnocco. With crunch on the outside and chewy in the middle crust, there is a myriad of textures. The freshest ingredients only add splendor the wood-oven baked masterpieces. Like all the restaurant’s dough, they are leavened for at least 48 hours, making it lighter and easily digestible. Their most popular selection is the mouthwatering Tartufata made with fresh mozzarella, truffle sauce, mushrooms and speck.

Gnocco, photo by Socially Superlative (4) Gnocco, photo by Socially Superlative (2)

When booking a reservation choose from the intimate dining room, the pizzeria or the charming enclosed all-year around patio filled greenery. Chef Giovanetti’s former restaurant, Perbacco received a two-star review in The New York Times and Gnocco has been recognized by New York Magazine’s The Underground Gourmet

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– Lauren Wire

337 E 10th Street
New York, NY 10009

Photos via Gnocco and by Socially Superlative

Gnocco: Italian Cuisine in the East Village