Magazine article The New Yorker

Noodle Pudding

Magazine article The New Yorker

Noodle Pudding

Article excerpt

38 Henry St., Brooklyn (718-625-3737)--If you set out to create the epitome of a decent neighborhood restaurant, you'd probably arrive at something a lot like Noodle Pudding. The room would be informal--exposed brick, perhaps an old stove against a wall, slightly eccentric light fixtures. There would be locals drinking at the bar and large round tables with families noisily celebrating birthdays. On busy nights there would be a pleasing atmosphere of barely controlled chaos, as a friendly staff made sure there were enough menus--indeed, chairs--to go round.

Noodle Pudding's quietly excellent Italian cooking avoids both the attention-seeking chic of modern Italian cuisine (no fennel pollen here) and the caloric suicide of "Sopranos"-style fare. The menu is large, with some twenty daily specials supplementing a similar number of permanent dishes. There is usually some kind of homemade black squid-ink pasta with seafood--spaghetti with scorpion fish, say, or fettucine with octopus, calamari, and mussels--and it always tastes as if it were made about five minutes before. Lasagna works the same way: the recipes vary daily (wild boar; mushroom and leek; squash and pork sausage), and the result is always hearty and never overwhelming. …

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