Monday, May 7, 2012

Bocca East Restaurant

1496 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10075, 212-249-1010 www.boccaeast.com

Bocca East Restaurant

Let me begin by saying that it's lucky we even ate at this restaurant. A couple of weeks ago, Brian and I had plans to meet a dear old friend for Sunday brunch. I'd suggested Bocca because it always looked inviting whenever I walked past and the menu on its web site was compelling. She agreed and said she'd take care of the reservations.

Bocca East Restaurant
Sunday brunch is a hot ticket on the upper east side of Manhattan and particularly so when the weather is fine and the venue features outdoor seating. If you plan to dine sometime between 11:00 and 1:00, you'd best make reservations at the cafes that accept them or prepare for a wait at the diners that don't. Our friend called on Thursday to make the Sunday reservation and the guy who answered the phone told her that he was the Thursday man and couldn't take a Sunday reservation. Neither could he transfer her to anyone else who could. This is patently ridiculous and the fact that she called back is amazing. I didn't hear this story until we were seated there with drinks in hand because I would have certainly made reservations elsewhere!

And since we not only blog but also tweet and Yelp, if the owner of this otherwise fine establishment is reading this I'd like to ask if you're out of your senses?

Bocca East Restaurant
Sorry, I had to get that out of my system. That part of the story is sadder still because the food here is fantastic, far above the typical brunch fare and with service superior to what is normally found at these uber-busy places. The brunch menu offered Bloody Mary's, Mimosa's and Bellini's for a reasonable $4 price but our experience is that these brunch cocktails contain little to no alcohol. We asked the waiter to make us proper drinks and he certainly did. They were well balanced, tasty...and strong...at no additional charge.

Bocca East Restaurant
For the meal our friend selected a grilled chicken panini sandwich with mozzarella cheese and heirloom tomato on ciabatta bread. I had the buffalo burger with chipotle mayonnaise, baby arugula, beefsteak tomato and mozzarella cheese. And both of our meals were served with field greens and Tuscan fries.

Bocca East Restaurant
Brian chose the pappardelle with lamb ragu made with olives, fresh rosemary and shaved Pecorino cheese.All three dishes were excellent and the pappardelle was extraordinary. We do take exception with the fact that there were a couple of small bones in the dish but Brian was so enamored of the flavor that it didn't put him off. The three of us shared a well made and generously portioned tiramisu for dessert.

Bocca East Restaurant
Apart from the bones in the pappardelle, we would also criticize the fact that a cute basket of bread was served with no butter or olive oil to dip. But otherwise the food was definitely a notch above most of the local places we've been. So, despite the Thursday reservation ridiculousness, are we going back? Given the excellence of the food and service I'd say they're probably going to get a second chance.

9 comments:

  1. Ha- that Thursday thing is ridiculous! Yes, if I knew that happened I would not have gone there, fearing that there would be a waiter that was "just the dessert" guy that couldn't help me with my drink order! Anyhow, it does make you wonder if that was just the person that answered the phone that was wierd or it is actually a policy of job description.
    All of that aside, your food and drinks do look great-so I am glad you enjoyed it!

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  2. The Thursday guy couldn't take a Sunday reservation? Absolutely ridiculous! So glad you liked the food, though.

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  3. I am drooling over the food, particularly the lamb pasta. I agree that the reservation thing is ridiculous--he couldn't get into the computer system for Sunday and just make the bloody reservation? I hope you get some answers on that.

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  4. Even though the reservation thing was too weird, the food looks excellent :D
    Great review - now I need a plane to get there ;)

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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  5. My two favorite drinks omg how inexpensive that is... I couldnt beleive just paid 7.50 in Arizona for a Mimosa and it wasn't that good... even the plane was 5.00 for a lousy tasting bloody mary... I am going home this weekend to Upstate NY going to try in my fav spots... those sammys looking amazing I am so home sick! Thanks for posting ... what a great place!

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  6. That's crazy! But the food looks like it's worth a second phone call for a reservation :)

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  7. As ridiculous as the reservation thing sounds I think food looks great!!! :)

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  8. that Thursday man situation was crazy...but atleast the food was good-your burger in particular sounds to die for, and the drink prices, amazing I need to find a brunch in DC that has prices like those!

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