Every week, I document another dish that impressed and satiated me during my food adventures around New York City

SAN MARZANO, 117 Second Avenue (at East 7th Street), East Village

There was a time in New York when you could get a cheap (and I mean cheap) dinner of well-cooked pasta and sauce. That time is mostly gone.

Even one of my old favorites, Supper, which is a super casual but solid osteria and wine joint have risen their prices to a still fair $13-$17 per pasta.

Of course times have changed, but not everybody’s income has changed with the raising rents and food costs. So I was mouth-gapingly shocked when I saw that every single pasta on San Marzano’s menu was $9.

It’s even more shocking when you realize that this spacious restaurant is right in the heart of the hip (and now expensive) East Village on the corner of Second Avenue and 7th Street. It’s not hidden down an alley or in a basement below some other business. It’s in the middle of it all.

The restaurant allows you to customize your meal by choosing a pasta (whole wheat and gluten-free are options) and then a type of sauce (everything from butternut squash & sausage to pesto to bolognese).

Pappardelle with Wild Boar Ragu at SAN MARZANO

 

I was expecting the portion size to be tiny or the quality to be less than spectacular. I was wrong on both counts. The pappardelle I chose was perfectly al dente with a wonderful bite and it provided a vessel for the rich sauce. The boar meat had a slight gaminess that was brightened up with San Marzano tomatoes and some tangy pecorino.

It was an excellent pasta dish. And it would have been even if I had spent double the price. I’m just glad I didn’t.

Thanks San Marzano for letting me relive my younger days of having great pasta for less than $10. In New York today, that’s truly a one-of-a-kind experience.

SAN MARZANO
117 Second Avenue (at East 7th Street),
East Village
(212) 777-3600
sanmarzanonyc.com
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About the Author

Brian Hoffman is a classically trained actor who is now a full-time tour guide, blogger, and food obsessive. He leads food and drink tours around New York City, which not only introduce tour-goers to delicious food, but gives them a historical context. He also writes food articles for Gothamist and Midtown Lunch in addition to overseeing this blog and a few food video series, including Eat This, Locals Know, and Around the World in One City.

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