Fusco, New York City, 5/4/18

front
front

At Fusco you enter into a large bar area where there are tables as well as bar stools.  The dining room is in the back and is a good sized, with background music, elaborate chandeliers that reflect into the mirrors, and well spaced bare wood tables.  There is some bench seating in the middle of the room and a couple roundish booths in the corners.  We went at lunch and while there were minimal servers the room was also pretty empty.  They only started serving lunch last February, however the dinner times are much fuller according to the server.  They also serve dinner in the bar area which has windows that open to the street.  The menu was a la carte with an option for a fixed price 2 or 3 course lunch.  They offer antipasti plates of 3 or 6 (which would include all options) choices.  They also have special wine-by-the-glass at lunch which is a good value.  

entrance
entrance

We chose the complete antipasti offering, split a pasta and 2 of their sandwich options.  The server was quite friendly and helpful but couldn’t make up for the lacking food quality.  When they asked how the sandwiches were, probably noticing they were mostly uneaten, we were not positive.  They nicely removed them from our bill but I still have reservations about this place, even though a few things were quite good.  Nevertheless, following are the pictures and descriptions of the food for your information.

bar area
bar area
table set up
table set up
menu
menu
drinks
drinks
booth seat
booth seat
interior
interior
Frankie posed with the candle holders
Frankie posed with the candle holders

 

While waiting for the food we were served warm rosemary focaccia along with a pesto of brocolli rabé and pepper. The bread was moist and very tasty.  The pesto was an interesting dip and reasonable tasty but the bread was fine on its own.

foccaccia
focaccia
dipping sauce
dipping pesto
closer
little closer
Frankie watched over things
Frankie watched over things

 

The appetizer plate included, artichoke bomba, cannellini beans, culatello, pickled eggplant, fiddlehead fern & spring onion caponata, and walnut & parmesan small plates.  It came with some toasted bread pieces that were pretty dry and didn’t really enhance the items but did supply a vehicle to get it to your mouth.  The focaccia was a better bread.  The artichoke was a tasteless paste in a boring tan tone.  The cannellini beans were quite tasty and pretty good.  The culatello was a ham that was a reasonable representation of what you expect, not salty or too fatty but with good flavor of its own.  Pickled eggplant was quite tart with a rather strange texture.  Almost too tart to enjoy, it was hard to discern the eggplant pieces.  Fiddlehead ferns with onions was also tart but a good mix of tastes.  It was the winner in the group.  Walnut and parmesan was another paste with a really good flavor.  It had a gritty like texture that made if a bit different.  If you go I would get the beans, fiddleheads and walnut/parm.

6 antipasti
6 antipasti
fiddlehead fern and spring onion caponata
fiddlehead fern and spring onion caponata
artichoke bomba
artichoke bomba
Cannellini beans
Cannellini beans
pickled eggplant
pickled eggplant
c
culatello
walnut and parmesan
walnut and parmesan
toast
toast
Frankie looked over the options
Frankie looked over the options

 

The Pasta al Pomodoro is the chef’s signature ragu and they nicely split the dish into two bowls for us in the kitchen.  It was perfectly cooked pasta with a light red sauce.  The sauce had an excellent flavor and adhered well to the pasta.  It had a delightful tomato-cheese aftertaste that was quite nice.  It was the best part of the meal and you can see why it’s his signature.

Pasta al Pomodoro, chef's signature ragu
Pasta al Pomodoro, chef’s signature ragu
closer
little closer
closest
closest
chandeliers reflect in the mirrors
chandeliers reflect in the mirrors
Frankie thought there were a lot of hand towels
Frankie thought there were a lot of hand towels

 

The Fusco Burger is made with aged beef, caramelized onion mostarda and melted fontina.  It was served with tuscan chips.  The bun was impossibly dry and crumbly and the chips not well salted.  It was a double patty of meat and the cheese melted into the onion to made a cheesy type of sauce but the meat was dull and tasteless.   It had no spark.

Fusco Burger: aged beef, caramelized onion mostarda and melted fontina
Fusco Burger: aged beef, caramelized onion mostarda and melted fontina
chips
chips

 

The Soft Shell Crab Hero was topped with calabrian chili aioli, mortadella and also served with tuscan chips.  It was said to be a fresh/recently live softshell crab.  I am doubtful.  The crab was soft and strong tasting.  It was too mushy and the water exuded with each bite – signs of being pre-frozen.  The mortadella was there but tasteless and didn’t really add to the mix.  The chips were not crisp, lacking salt and had no appeal.  We couldn’t order dessert, it just didn’t seem to be a good idea.

Soft shell crab hero: calabrian chili aioli, mortadella and tuscan chips
Soft shell crab hero: calabrian chili aioli, mortadella and tuscan chips
inside
inside
from the side
from the side
Frankie found this in the bathroom
Frankie found this in the bathroom

 

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