Bocca Restaurant and Bar

By Nadia Ghattas
Nadia Ghattas
Nadia Ghattas
June 21, 2009 Updated: June 21, 2009

Trendy and charming. (Complements Bocca)
Trendy and charming. (Complements Bocca)
A huge poster of the old Fellini movie “Roma” dominates one wall, while the Hollywood hit “Roman Holiday” with Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn hang on another wall.

Bocca is an intimate and chic place where one can enjoy a traditional Italian with a new Roman twist.

The menu, according to owner Alessandro Peluso, is seasonal and is comprised of the classic Italian dishes with a Roman creation. It is an eclectic menu feature Roman cuisine with different sections: a cheese and salami board, salads, pasta, meat, and fish. An extensive wine menu with an Italian focus is available. Produce comes from Union Square farmers, while all other ingredients are imported from Italy. The setting is chic and trendy.

I really liked the peasant breadbasket that comes with a tomato spread made from sun-dried tomatoes and olive oil that was very flavorful and tasty. The tangy taste of tomato with the oil and bread is a refreshing way to prepare yourself for the meal.

Respect for tradition and taste. (Complements Bocca)
Respect for tradition and taste. (Complements Bocca)
In Roman dining, a meal is incomplete without pasta. From the wide selection of pastas, Tonnarelli, a signature dish, is recommended. It is made with house-made pasta served at your table with Pecorino Romano and coarse black pepper. The pasta is cooked al dente and ritualistically tossed with Parmesan Reggiano. A touch of black pepper enhances the flavor of the cheese.

Octopus is enjoyed in most Mediterranean countries and is a common dish in Italian cuisine. I had the Polipo, grilled Portuguese wild octopus served over marinated warm cannellini beans salad. The octopus was very fresh though I thought it was a bit bland. I believe that it called for a bit more seasoning. Perhaps this dish would be good for those with a bland palate. The sautéed hen of the woods mushrooms was what I went there for. It is an item that is rarely seen on the menus in New York, because this type of mushroom is very difficult to clean. It was heavenly, and I will go there again just for this dish. This was the highlight of the meal. The mushrooms were sautéed with garlic and olive oil with meaty flesh and rich taste. Bocca regularly features local jazz artists and other special entertainment.

Mondays at Bocca feature live Bossanova with recording artist Greta Panettieri from 7–10 p.m.

Nadia Ghattas
Nadia Ghattas