Is it a restaurant or antique store? That was my first thought when I walked into Il Buco’s rustic interior and saw the millions of pieces of old, uh, equipment strewn all over the walls and funky, handmade post apocalyptic chandeliers dotting the ceiling. As it turns out, the joint is both a store and a restaurant! According to local lore (or at least the Il Buco website), this place was once an Americana antique store that started serving drinks and apps to their regulars, and then eventually transitioned into a full-out grub place when they probably realized that they could make a way better living charging three times the retail price on a bottle of wine than trying to hawk rusty tea kettles. In any case, the place still maintains the amazingly cozy quality of a cluttered, wooden colonial house, while serving up a hearty Mediterranean selection of meats, pastas, fish and a slew of appetizers. I had a really delicious risotto with scallops and mussels that was both succulent and surprisingly non-fishy. Damn, real, slow-cooked risotto is good stuff–you can practically feel the calories pouring into your bloodstream. Honestly, just sitting and looking around this place is a joy. I would love to call this place a hidden gem, but I’m sure most of the people in the neighborhood are totally aware of it. My suggestion is to find a nice girl from Hoboken or Weehawken and tell her you’re taking her to your little place in the city, and get ready to watch her eyes light up as you step into this little slice of warmth in the big, bad, stone-cold city. [MF]
47 Bond St.