by Sarah Lagrotteria
The days have finally arrived when we can almost take the sun for granted, and we find ourselves adrift in the languor of hot summer days. It’s time to feel content to relax and let the day unroll. We even find our food-focused selves wanting, “just something light,” when it comes to meals. When choosing restaurants, our focus shifts from finding a preferred menu to finding the ideal patio space. The Babbo staff favors some of the following.
Dos Caminos Soho
475 W. Broadway
We liked the location on park, but come summertime, we love this new outpost on the corner of Houston and West Broadway. The fresh, clean flavors of Dos Camino’s Mexican menu literally jump on the palate when enjoyed out in the humid summer air. This is Mexican the way it was meant to be; eaten with a little dampness on the brow, where strategically placed flowerbeds dull the surrounding street sounds, and the salsa is tangy with summer-fresh tomatoes. It’s a good bet that some of us will be there tonight.
140 W. 13th St.
At Gonzo, chef Vincent Scotto offers up an extensive menu of hearty Tuscan-style dishes. His food is big on flavor and portions are hefty, just what we want on a cold winter evening. Nowadays, it’s his pizzas that have us stopping by, vying for one of the 6 two-top tables he has positioned out on a quiet stretch of 13th Street. With their hurricane lamps lit, these café seats are romantic in the simplest way. This month, the kitchen is offering a watermelon pizza, featuring arugula and prosciutto atop their signature, grilled crusts. If you’re seeking romance, it’s best to go and sit out after dark; it’s easier to ignore the watermelon juice dribbling down your partner’s chin.
260 6th Avenue
Babbo’s own Joe Bastianich credits Da Silvano’s owner, Silvano Marchetto, with introducing New Yorkers to genuine trattoria cusine when he opened this restaurant and sidewalk cafe 25 years ago. Silvano is still a favorite; known for it’s Tuscan fare (we go the Zuppa alla boscaiola -wild mushroom cream soup), celeb clientele, and a sprawling outdoor patio facing right out on to 6th Avenue. It may not sound like the ideal view, but somehow the always-happy crowd that congregates on summer nights brings a fresh romanticism to an otherwise graceless view of taxis winding their way up the avenue.