The who: Sugarcane chef Timon Balloo and the Sushisamba restaurant group team up to open Bocce Bar, an Italian restaurant with its own bocce court.
The space: Located in the former Sustain space in Midtown, Bocce Bar features antique European tile flooring, wooden ceiling beams and an Enomatic wine system.
Outdoors: There’s that namesake bocce court, lined with Italian cypress trees, and plenty of al fresco seating.
The dishes: Rustic Italian with contemporary twists. Prices are reasonable with shareable antipasti $8-$14, pastas $13-$21 and mains $36-$48.
Antipasti include creamy polenta with rapinni and a poached egg, lamb and goat cheese meatballs and fried sardines.
Vegetable dishes include roasted “Thumbelina” carrots with a rich mascarpone smear, cauliflower with pine nut raisin gremolata and grilled treviso, a bitter radicchio-type leaf, with shaved pecorino and fig balsamic.
Salumi selections are cut to order and include prosciutto di Parma, house-made lamb mortadella and salame Felino. All are served with radicchio marmalade and house giardiniera.
House-made pastas include tortelli stuffed with chestnut mortadella, truffle tagliatelle, cannelloni stuffed with wild mushrooms and orecchiette with hearty duck sugo (a ragu-like sauce) and butternut squash.
Guests receive complimentary limoncello marshmallows at the end of the meal. The dessert menu includes crisp cannoli with 25-year aged balsamic ice cream and an espresso panna cotta.
The bottom line: Timon Balloo’s rustic Italian tapas ought to woo the Midtown crowd to play at Bocce Bar.