Throughout my culinary experience in New York City, there are a few restaurants where I had a great experience but somehow I ended up not going in a while. Perhaps that is because of so many choices in the diverse dining scene in the city. Perhaps I’m becoming more forgetful as I age. In any event, it was only recently that I realized, when searching for a restaurant to have dinner with a foodie friend visiting from out of town (along with our mutual friend as well as my lovely wife Jun), that for some inexplicable reasons, I had only been to Pasquale Jones once back in 2016 (see my review here https://kenscale.com/2016/05/02/pasquale-jones/). As my friend, an avid food blogger who writes with a lot more flourish than mine, was on a semi-business trip to check out Italian restaurants around the city for a new restaurant project that she was consulting for, I thought Pasquale Jones would be a perfect place to show her the type of casual yet really good restaurant. And I’m glad that the restaurant is still hitting on all cylinders.
Since the foodie friend had a very generous expense account budget, she ordered perhaps a bit too much food for a party of four, but we didn’t complain (I had a very light lunch that day at work knowing that we’ll probably get a bunch of dishes). The two giant wood-fire ovens and the pizzas that come out of them are still the highlights of the restaurant’s menu, but don’t sleep on their appetizers, such as the refreshing fluke crudo or the Montauk scallops with corn, butter bean and sweet pepper that I regretted were a bit too small (because they were quite delicious and I was in no mood for sharing one). The vegetables were also fantastic, such as the charred Romano beans with spring onion and pancetta that showed robust texture and the warm braised leeks with toasted walnut and Parmigiano. The two pasta dishes were also solid, especially the sweetcorn agnolotti with chanterelle mushroom and Parmigiano that Jun remarked could a fantasy for every pasta-loving girl for its sweet flavor and wonderfully al dente texture. It was really in the pizza department, however, that Pasquale Jones still shines, and I’m very close to declaring this might be one of the top five pizza destinations in Manhattan. The signature littleneck clam pie with garlic, lemon and broccoli rabe was fantastic as always, but the best one of the night probably belonged to the squash blossom pie with zucchini, basil and “little fish” that the server described as a type of anchovy. I was very impressed with the generous vegetable toppings that worked together beautifully for a semi-healthy flavor.
The other two pizzas (as mentioned above, we ordered a lot!) were also very good; I loved the spicy kick coming from the hot pepper in diavola pie, and the burrata cheese in the other pie displayed a ton of freshness that Jun very much liked. As if the four pies weren’t enough, the foodie friend wanted to order one secondi dish, and I remembered that the restaurant’s pork shank (available as an off-menu item during our visit) was supposed to be one of its best dishes. It was indeed a wise decision to order this beautiful meat dish, with impeccable texture without overpowering flavor. If all four of us hadn’t been stuffed from the massive carb intakes previously, I have no doubt we would’ve finished this in five minutes. Just like last time, there is only dessert available at Pasquale Jones on a given day, and I suggest never skipping one at the restaurant as the dessert usually involves roasted fruit. On our visit, roasted apricot accompanied by raspberry and vanilla gelato was available and everyone really enjoyed this delightful dish that wasn’t overly sweet.
Pasquale Jones is still a very popular restaurant where securing a table at prime time can be a challenge so plan ahead accordingly. On a weekday dinner, the restaurant certainly seems to have more younger crowds than the last time I had visited on a Sunday when I saw a couple of families with kids hanging out together. The wine list comes from various places around the world; ordering a glass or bottle of red Italian should be the way to go if you are inclined to have some alcohol to complement the food. I’m still not sure to this day how I never managed to revisit Pasquale Jones after a memorable first meal, but I have no doubt I will use this restaurant again for future occasions.
KenScale: 8.5/10 (Jun’s Score: 8.5/10)
- Creativity: 8.0/10
- Execution: 8.5/10
- Ingredients: 8.5/10
- Flavor: 8.5/10
- Texture: 8.5/10
- Value: 8.5/10
Address: 187 Mulberry Street, New York, NY 10012
Telephone: (917) 453-0339