I'll admit it…I've fallen in love! Or maybe it's just infatuation at this point but, whatever it is, I'm enjoying every moment of it. Pasquale Jones, the new restaurant from the Charlie Bird team, has what it takes to keep me coming back for more. There are so many things to love here from the Jo Malone scented candles and Aesop hand wash in the restrooms to the super comfortable bar stools and dining room chairs. But let me tell you about the top three reasons I've fallen head over heels with Pasquale Jones.
1. Wood-burning ovens - two of them!
One oven is exclusively for pizzas while the other is used for meats, fish and poultry. The pizzas have a soft, delicious bready texture on the inside of their crispy crusts. A favorite was the clam pizza topped with chopped clams and broccoli rabe with its creamy texture, even without any cheese on it. Another top choice was the margherita pizza, vibrant with fresh mozzarella di bufala and a tangy tomato sauce.
Then there was the pork shank for two coming out of the other oven .... so, so good!! The meat is rubbed with black pepper, rosemary, fennel, fennel pollen and then left overnight to absorb all those seasonings before being slowly braised in white wine. This succulent pork is so tender it just fell off the bone and the flavors kept me wanting more and more! It was a large portion for two but there was no way we would be leaving any of this deliciousness behind!
2. Wine served in Zalto stemware, along with a great wine list.
I have loved Zalto wine glasses, hand-blown in Austria, since I took my first sip from one of them. What I love about these glasses is how they feel in your hand, so featherly light! There's a certain elegance with these glasses that you don't find in many others I have tried. Swirling wine in them, you never have to worry that any wine will splash out. The design keeps the liquid right there in the bottom third of the glass and allows the aromas of the wine to accumulate and slowly waft up out of the glass.
I really liked the wine list too. There were plenty of wines in the $45 -75 range as well as much higher priced ones. Predominantly Italian and French, there were wines from all over the world and some very interesting choices. A great choice to start out the evening is the 2014 Abbatucci Rouge Frais Imperial ($65), a light bodied red Corsican wine with delicate flavors and super fine tannins. This wine paired well with all the fresh flavors in the appetizers and pizzas. For the pork shank I wanted something a little heartier but still fresh, lively and not too heavy. The 2007 Lopez de Heredia Vina Cubillo ($65) fit the bill. This Spanish Crianza wine is made mostly from tempranillo and garnacha grapes. It is earthy and a little spicy with long, lingering flavors.
3. The people who work here.
Everyone, from the hostesses to the waitstaff to the chefs, was extremely friendly and professional. Whether sitting at a table or at the bar overlooking the kitchen, the attention to detail and concern for customer satisfaction were apparent. It's a lot of fun to sit at the bar here, overlooking the kitchen and see up close the chefs hard at work. They were really friendly and took the time—in between sautéing and plating—to answer our questions about the food.
Appetizers tend to be refreshing like this one.
There is one marscapone dessert offered each night.
So there you have it … my love for Pasquale Jones which I am happy to share this Don Juan! I hope you get the chance to head on over and enjoy your own meal there. Right now, being the hot new place that it is, I would suggest showing up early (they open for dinner at 5:30) and snagging a seat at the bar. Tell the chefs I say hello and I'll be seeing them again soon!
Pasquale Jones is located at 187 Mulberry Street, NYC