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Welcome to Cardinal Directions - a catalog of my favorite food & travels to help you navigate New York & beyond.  



Italian comfort at Bar Primi

Italian comfort at Bar Primi

Although I haven't spoken about it much on this blog, Italian food is by far one of my favorite cuisines. It's simultaneously simple yet luxurious - and there are hundreds of different preparations of your favorite pasta that run the gamut from no frills, do-it-yourself varieties to more extravagant truffled-up renditions. 

Bar Primi embodies this versatility. The restaurant itself feels casual & cozy, as if you're walking into an old-fashioned Italian diner. Red accents warm the wood-paneled space and contribute to the warm glow the restaurant takes on in the evening (as does their copious wine cellar).

Run by Andrew Carmellini, the force behind city treasures such as Locanda Verde, and his pasta-enthusiast partner Sal Lamboglia - you can also be pretty confident the food here won't disappoint. 

Eating here feels a bit like dropping in on a home-cooked Italian meal and the portion sizes certainly reinforce that feeling.

We started with the beets & prosciutto, both of which were incredible. The beets were a particular favorite of mine - paired with pimento yogurt, it was a satisfying meld of fresh and creamy.

If you're not particularly hungry, you could probably get away with just ordering a couple of appetizers and some drinks (try their negroni). Luckily (or unluckily) we're pretty excessive eaters and made space for both dinner & dessert. 

If I see it on the menu, squid ink pasta is usually a must-order for me. While an all black pasta can make for a somewhat intimidating dish, the squid adds an extra dimension of umami flavor which is so exquisite. Bar Primi's campanelle interpretation also sports fresh crab and delicately incorporated spices which give it a kick at the end of each bite. 

My boyfriend ordered the fiore di carciofi, which translates into 'artichoke flower'. It's one giant thick band of pasta curled neatly into a spiral on your plate. The pasta is stuffed with artichoke & cheese and served in a decadent bath of pecorino & pancetta. Need I say more? Incredible. 

Last but not least - the desserts here are delicious. The panna cotta is a must-try. I generally don't opt for desserts with a gelatin or pudding-like texture, and even so, I have to admit their panna cotta is scrumptious.

It's delicate in texture but rich in flavor and comes covered in berries & sweetened nuts. If you're more of a traditionalist though, their tiramisu is also a winner. 

For any of my fellow pasta-lovers, this spot is definitely worth a try. Whatever you choose, you'll leave feeling warm and very satisfied. 

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(Menu | Reservations)

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