In Venice, a bacaro is a workingman’s pub offering the city’s traditional bar snacks: platters of mixed crostini, fritto misto, fried sardines, and polpette (tiny spicy meatballs). In New York City, Bacaro is a bi-level wine bar and osteria that pays homage to its Venetian inspiration. Hidden away on Division Street in Chinatown, on a quiet block that curves off of Orchard, Chef Frank DeCarlo, his wife Dulcinea and their partner Kama Geary, Bacaro was reborn from a former aquarium. Now replete with long wooden tables and benches, exposed brick walls, rough-hewn slate floors, and lots of candlelight, lingering conversation finds the perfect atmosphere. Supplemented by cichetti, of course, the menu also features cured meats, cheeses selected by local legend Lou DiPalo, pastas in unusual and tasty combinations (the Cuttlefish Ink Pasta is spectacular) and a remarkable list of biancos, rossos and spumantis.
Finding most bars/clubs to feel worn-out these days, I love that I can still run into old friends on weekend nights in this dimly-lit rustic Italian Osteria on the Lower East Side. Sharing in the great selection of ‘ombra’ and ‘cicchetti’ here reminds me of evenings spent while living in Venice.