GIGINO’S: TAKING A VIEW ON NY ITALIAN
I was planning to drag some chums to Landmarc last night but one of them, a native NY’er of some standing decreed that, as it was such a nice night, we had to sit by the water and have our supper. I was a little concerned as New York is relatively slow in developing its waterfront by comparison to London and I had visions of sitting by a Sanitation Dept truck park while eating a burger.
However, my friend assured me that he knew just the place, so, Gigino’s it was. I had never heard of it but my chum Michael and his wife had been regulars at the owner’s original restaurant ( called Positano’s I think ) and remain fond of this place in the Summer and its sibling on the corner of Duane & Reade throughout the year.
By the way, it has taken me the best part of 20 years ( if that is how long they have been going ) to figure out why Duane Reade carrys that name. Doh!
Gigino’s was right by Pier A. A striking building at the bottom of Battery Park City which had really caught my eye when I had run down there on Sunday. Another friend tells me that it used to be the offices for the Docks Division. It is now, shamefully in dreadful disrepair.
Given that the UN is session and half the roads are closed, it almost took as long to get down there by cab as it did to run down there. All that inconvinience just for that tosser. Ho hum.
When we finally arrived, my chums were already well into their second bottle of rose and I practically had to threaten to drag the bottle out of our host’s cold dead fingers before I was able to get a welcome drink.
The food is fairly standard New York Italian and derived from the cooking of Southern Italy. Standard and competently prepared without offering an particular culinary fireworks. Kind of like NYC on a plate really ( lights blue touch paper and retires to safe distance )
Some comped Bruschetta were actually rather simple and nice, made, as they were with some late season tomatoes.
A starter of chicken livers was passable if just the right side of mushy. Fried squid was as good as any I have had in the city but it hardly requires Thomas Keller to knock out that kind of food.
Main courses too were fine. Some pasta with seafood, a veal chop and some grilled fish. Nothing that really needs any expertise in the preparation but all of which proved agreeable enough with the bottle of Primitivo I ordered.
It was a beautiful view though and, as the Sun set, the Statue of Liberty was set off to amazing effect.
Michael generously picked up the tab. So, it seems churlish to dismiss the food out of hand. Let’s just say it filled a gap while not distracting us from either the view or very amiable conversation.
Sometimes, even for those of us obsessed with food, that’s all you need.