Arthur & Sons
If we’re going to keep adding new Italian restaurants to the West Village like we’re fighting off a gang of vampires with all the garlic in the city, they better be phenomenal. Or at least as fun as Arthur & Sons.
The food here is not phenomenal. Most of it peaks at “passable,” and you'll find better revamped red-sauce fare at Don Angie down the street. But with some flashy branding and fun umbrella drinks, this place is still a good option for a group dinner where everything is shareable and no one will shush you when you get too drunk-loud.
Arthur & Sons benefits from a clear concept. It wants to remind you of the sort of Italian-American restaurants you see in Scorsese films, now in TikTok-friendly technicolor. The bright, cheerful interior looks like it belongs in a glossy pop video, and you can listen to Sinatra on the speakers and sit in scalloped red leather booths that are conveniently unburdened by decades of cigarette smoke.
There are some solid options on their menu of family-style dishes, though none are as memorable as the logo'd plates they come on. The spicy rigatoni alla vodka is your best bet if you need to set the scene in your stomach for more limoncello martinis, and you must add some tender, well-seasoned meatballs on top. They fall apart so easily it’s almost like they aspire to be bolognese. However, we’re not moved to give the overly chewy ravioli another shot. For such a saucy restaurant, the marinara is confusingly bitter and bland. Seafood can also stay off the table. Their shrimp fra diavolo is severely lacking in flavor.
You don’t need to think too hard about your order here. It’s just a bunch of fuel for increasingly loud conversation. Get something with vodka sauce and a giant spumoni to share, and order from the fabulous cocktail menu liberally. With its colorful mai tais, chatty servers, and surprise homage to '90s New York hip hop in the back, at least this spot isn’t boring. In the midst of all the nostalgia for old Italian-American tropes there's a youthful energy that, despite the lackluster food, keeps Arthur and Sons from feeling like any old West Village Italian restaurant.
Spicy Rigatoni Alla Vodka
This is, without a doubt, their best work. They nail the vodka sauce and top it off with a generous cobweb of parm.
Meatballs With Ricotta
These fresh, soft meatballs refuse to stay intact, but they taste amazing and we impolore you to get them anyway. You can add them to a pasta or order them as an appetizer.
Chicken Alla Vodka
Another hit, thanks to that great vodka sauce and some expertly tenderized chicken. Easy to cut, easy to share.
Golden Naples Marinara
The marinara sauce at Arthur & Sons is frustratingly bitter and severely unseasoned—which is a bit of a problem when half the things on the menu are coated in the stuff. Seafood also isn't their strong suit. (Much of it comes out overcooked.) Skip that section of the menu.
Artichokes Piccata Style
Bold lemon flavor seeps all the way through these meaty artichokes, our favorite starter to share here.
Shrimp Fra Diavolo
We're into how spicy this is—they do not skimp on the Calabrian chili paste—but you don't taste much else. You might need to be that person and ask for some table salt.
Spumoni My Way
This super fun spumoni will be the highlight of your group meal. It comes with pistachio gelato made in house, a bed of nutella on the bottom, rich syrupy cherries, and toasted cookies. Everyone's going to feel like the birthday girl.
Good, but only slightly better than a solid pizza shop version and with a much higher price tag.
The Sophia Loren and Johnny Lume's MaiTai
The addition of a kooky tropical cocktail menu is a smart way to set the tone of the restaurant. All the drinks look and taste delicious, and the super cute corner bar starts the party for the whole room.