Charlie Bird was one of the hottest restaurants in the city back when they opened in 2013. The duo of Ryan Hardy and Robert Bohr have really hit the sweet spot for NY diners by opening a trendy restaurant with awesome playlist and wine list that serves seasonal and well-executed comfort food. I enjoyed my experience at Charlie Bird and was excited to hear that the duo started a sophomore project, this time focusing on pizzas. When I first stepped into the restaurant, the very first sight was an open kitchen with two humongous ovens. Instantly I knew that they weren’t settling for a boring pizza place just because it’s hard not to please the crowd with pizzas. In fact, my dining experience at Pasquale Jones exceeded my previous one at Charlie Bird and I was very happy with all the food that came from the kitchen.
Throughout my dinner, it was clear that the kitchen was paying a lot of attention to the freshness of ingredients. Warm ricotta with black pepper and honey was quite delicious, and I couldn’t stop digging it even though I knew there were other dishes on the way. I was also very impressed with fresh artichoke that came with fennel and finocchiona (a type of salami ham), with its wonderful texture that should really teach other restaurants how an artichoke dish should be prepared right. Among the pizzas, the one with clam seems to have quickly become the signature dish at Pasquale Jones, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. The crust was tender, and the combination of little neck clam along with parsley and garlic worked harmoniously together, especially when accompanied by little red pepper served on the side that perfectly neutralized any greasy sensation of the pie.
The best dish of the night, however, belonged to a simple pasta dish that my server said was an off-menu special and enthusiastically recommended. Tajarin is a type of egg noodle pasta, and the kitchen was serving one with veal ragu. I absolutely loved the texture of the noodle, and the veal pieces sprinkled throughout were also very nicely cooked. I was actually glad that my dining companion was quite full by the time this dish came out so I could savor this magnificent dish almost all by myself! The balance of flavor and texture of this dish was just great that I’m comfortable designating this as one of the best pasta dishes I’ve had this year. The kitchen serves only one dessert per night; I tried oven roasted rhubarb with mascarpone gelato and toasted pistachio that was another winner. The combination of fresh rhubarb and decadent mascarpone gelato was quite delightful, and I walked out from the restaurant one happy diner.
No restaurant is perhaps as popular as Pasquale Jones at the moment. Getting a reservation (the restaurant accepts one up to two weeks in advance) is a must unless you are willing to line up slightly before it opens at 5:30 p.m. and pray that there are walk-in spaces (which the restaurant does seem to set aside for) available. I had a 5:30 p.m. reservation for two on a rainy Sunday evening and the entrance was already crowded with people. The wine list seems to be somewhat more diminished compared to Charlie Bird, although with the type of excellent comfort food you have at Pasquale Jones, complementing your meal with a glass or two would be a wise idea. If Charlie Bird is a more hip destination for all the young, handsome crowd hanging out in downtown Manhattan, Pasquale Jones seems to have broader range of audience in mind. I’ve seen a lot of families (with kids) that come together to share multiple pizza pies together. The décor of the dining space is probably not as sexy as the original place, but I somehow preferred the more inviting setting here that makes Pasquale Jones an ideal place to dine for a variety of occasions. It’s hard to eclipse your initial hit with a sophomore venture, but Messrs. Hardy and Bohr pulled off this hard feat, and for that I give them tons of credit. If you can, sit at the counter in front of the open kitchen and watch all the magic happening there.
- Creativity: 8.0/10
- Execution: 8.5/10
- Ingredients: 9.0/10
- Flavor: 8.5/10
- Texture: 8.5/10
Address: 187 Mulberry Street, New York, NY 10012
Telephone: (917) 472-7230