The Gotham West Market’s executive in charge of luring interesting new vendors must have one of the toughest jobs in America. It turns out that surviving so deep inside Hell’s Kitchen, a neighborhood dominated by young professionals and Bulldogs is pretty tough. Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop is the only original vendor left since they opened about 5 years ago. Changes are happening in a furious pace. Latest shocker is the departure of Genuine Roadside, a burger joint owned by Avroko the firm that designed GWM. Sources tell me Corner Bistro another burger joint will be its replacement. Yes, I have sources.
For a moment there, with the shuttered burger option, GWM’s total demise seemed in sight. I mean how much more pain can these Bulldogs take. Enter Dell’anima! Yes, that Dell’anima that you may have heard about but never went because it got lost in the crazy West Village Italian shuffle. It managed to survive a decade there generating quite the following, but ultimately succumbing to ultra gentrification like so many others. Today’s rent squeeze means you have to be creative with the real estate, but it also means winners may emerge elsewhere. In this case its Hell’s Kitchen which may have just gotten its best Italian.
I’ve been hanging around so much at Dell’anima lately (before or during tours) that I’m having my mail forwarded there. It replaces the space of El Colmado, joining Ivan, Seamore’s, Corner Slice, Ample Hills Creamery and a Jianbing joint (Beijing style crepes) as the current residents. A very different lineup to even going back a few months, not to mention on opening day. Dell’anima features the type of concentrated menu that feels fresh and unique in the entire Hell’s Kitchen universe where Italian is somewhat lacking. And I can safely say this again: Gotham West Market is a solid, severely overlooked pre-theater option. At least for the time being.
The mostly Roman inspired pastas here is the main draw although everything else I’ve tried was exceptional. There’s a Tajarin Carbonara with Speck and egg that is so good I had to come back for it when I didnt have to share it with three women (My family. I’m not THAT popular). The Tagliatelle Alla Bolognese was another winner. There’s also a Tagliolini Cacio e pepe and a standard but fine looking Orecchiette with sausage.
Only two Secondis on the menu, and at least one of them is superb. A chili crusted, juicy Pollo al Diavolo sitting on top Broccoli Rabe. The charred octopus, a popular dish in the previous location is excellent as well. It comes with “Rice Beans”, cannellini Beans so young they resemble large grains. While not one of these fat Spanish octopuses you come across sometimes, its zesty and delicious, and the dish works well as a whole. Go!
600 11th Ave (Gotham West Market, Hell’s Kitchen)
Rating: Two Z’s (out of 4)
Stars range from Good to Exceptional. Simple as that
Recommended Dishes: Octopus, Chicken, Carbonara