Notes from New York: Sauce and Roscioli NYC

Written By Scott Joseph On December 4, 2023

Sauce sign

Seven years ago, on the almost-annual trip to New York, we wandered into an unassuming little Italian restaurant on the Lower East Side called Sauce. It was late – we’d been to see a show – and there were few places still serving dinner at the hour. We found two seats at the tiny bar and had a really delightful meal. The food was good and the bartender who serve it was delightful and engaging. We had decided we would go back on the next trip to the city.

And then a fire closed it.

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Turci Panino

Written By Scott Joseph On October 5, 2023

Turci Panino exterior

Vinicius Turci and Nathalia Kalil, the husband and wife owners of Turci Pasta in College Park, have opened Turci Panino in the former China in College Park space next door.

With Turci Panino, they’re bringing the same high quality they feature in the full service restaurant to this quick-serve sandwichery.

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Papa Lozzi Italia

Written By Scott Joseph On September 5, 2023

Papa Lozzi Italia exterior

The first time I visited Papa Lozzi Italia, a little over two years ago, the restaurant scene was just starting to find its new footing. So was I. After an extended period of doing reviews mostly on takeout food, inside dining was beginning to be less fraught.

In those days, restaurants were putting plexiglass dividers between tables to help people feel more comfortable and separated. Papa Lozzi was the first one I saw that hadn’t just slap-dashed in place. Someone here took the time to notch them so that they looked like they were part of the original design.

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Cafe-Boutique Piano

Written By Scott Joseph On August 24, 2023

Cafe boutique piano

I thought there’d be more piano. Or even some piano.

I mean, the place is called Cafe-Boutique Piano, so I don’t think my expectations were unwarranted. Granted, I dined fairly early in the evening at the Hannibal Square restaurant that opened last year, and midweek when live music in restaurants is scarce. But the decor sports a player piano in one corner, so it’s not like they’d have to hire a musician.

With a fairly small dining room, it certainly is boutiquey, though I have to say I don’t know why the name has the strangely placed hyphen.

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F&D Woodfired Italian Kitchen

Written By Scott Joseph On July 27, 2023

F&D Woodfired Italian Kitchen Curry Ford exterior

F&D Woodfired Italian Kitchen on Curry Ford Road was the first of what is now three locations for the local restaurant group. It opened in 2018 in a building that over the past few decades has been home to numerous restaurants. Most of the previous tenants apparently faltered because the small space made it difficult to turn a profit. But F&D seemed to be making a pretty good go of it.

Then the developer, National Real Estate (which despite the name is locally owned by husband and wife team Giovanni Fernandez and Elise Sabatino) decided what that block really needed was a multistory, mixed-use building – developers gotta develop, right? – so F&D would have to move. It closed in April of last year.

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Pigzza

Written By Scott Joseph On July 20, 2023

Pigzza Orlando

I winced when I first heard that a restaurant planned for the Mills 50 District would be called Pigzza. Did anyone not? Back then, in May of 2021, the project was announced as a collaboration between the owners of Stasio’s, the Milk District Italian cafe and market, and Pig Floyd’s Urban Barbakoa. So it sorta, kinda made sense if there were to be a fusion of barbecue, pizza and Italian dishes.

In the end, Pig Floyd’s Thomas Ward is the sole owner of Pigzza, whose tagline is “an Italianish joint.” And with the barbecue connection still intact, you’d expect the menu to be filled with pulled pork pizzas and pastas aplenty. But this little Pigzza has none.

Well, it has some, but surprisingly few. Which ultimately is a good, astute even, choice. Subtle is almost always the better way to go.

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Bar Italia

Written By Scott Joseph On June 15, 2023

Bar Italia restaurant in Winter Park Village

Bar Italia, the restaurant that now occupies the corner that once held Brio in Winter Park Village, comes to us from NCR Ventures – the initials stand for Next Cool Restaurants – an Ohio group now expanding to Florida. The Winter Park restaurant is only the third of the brand; the other two are in Ohio. Locations in Naples and Lakewood Ranch, Fla., are “coming soon.”

The company’s website says that it offers, “a collection of neighborhood local restaurants focused on world class food, upscale service, in a well designed space meant to create a dining experience.”

In terms of the new Bar Italia, they’re 0 for 3.

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Turci Pasta

Written By Scott Joseph On May 25, 2023

Turci ext

I have a family recipe, one my mom cooked regularly when I was growing up, that I make from time to time. It’s noodle based and I’ve always just used store-bought dried egg noodles.

Then one day I decided to make fresh pasta and I used some in the recipe. And suddenly a mundane dish was a superior one. I’ll never go back to using dried pasta in that recipe again.

Vinicius Turci and his wife, Nathalia Kalil, understand that. Fresh pastas are the centerpiece of their College Park restaurant, Turci Pasta.

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Enzo’s on the Lake

Written By Scott Joseph On March 30, 2023

 Enzo sign

I like to revisit a restaurant, especially a long-established one like Enzo’s on the Lake, whenever there is a major change. The recent sale of the business by original owner Jo Anne Perlini, who opened it in 1980 with her then-husband, Enzo, to Orlando dentist John Khalil is about as major as changes get.

So it’s time to take another look. But for this one I asked for help.

The opportunity for two diners to join me on a visit to Enzo’s was a silent auction item at last month’s Orlando Shakes gala. Ellen Prague was the successful bidder, but Winter Park couple Steve Goldman and Melanie Love said they wanted in on it, too. So they agreed to match Pragues bid and I made reservations at Enzo’s on the Lake for two nights exactly one week apart.

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Italian House Pizza & Restaurant

Written By Scott Joseph On February 28, 2023

Italianhouse int

“This is why I don’t come here anymore.”

The woman was harrumphing herself out of her booth just as I was passing to sit in the one next to it. As near as I could tell, she was unhappy about something concerning her order and even unhappier about having to get up to find her server so she could complain to him.

This was at the generically named Italian House Pizza & Restaurant on South Crystal Lake Drive in the Curry Ford West District. I was tempted to point out to the woman that she apparently does still “come here,” but I let it go. Eventually, I, too, would learn that service here wasn’t exactly trained and professional. “I’m a really lousy waiter,” my server would say at one point in the meal. And I would also have to get up at one point to hunt him down.

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