The easiest reviews to write are for the extremes: the “Wow, I would bathe in this steak sauce every day forever,” kind of restaurants and the “I think I just paid $30 for something a baby would eat from a can” ones. Then there are the ones that sit right in the middle, places that we would send you to, but with an asterisk or two. Welcome to La Pecora Bianca*.
One thing to be sure about La Pecora Bianca – this is one of those “cute” restaurants. The space is bright, the vibe is lively, and there’s a big bar area that’s perfect for after work drink meetups. It’s also located in a part of town that simply needs more restaurants, right on the corner of 26th and Broadway.
But those are where the strictly positive traits at La Pecora Bianca end. The menu here is something of a “concept” – the pastas are all made in house, mostly out of whole grain wheat flour. Gluten free pasta is also available as a substitution in every case. And while that’s a nice idea for the Celiac sufferers and sympathizers of the world, it makes for a strange experience for those of us who don’t see a plain old plate of pasta as a plate of poison. Yes, the “Einkorn Gramigna” here is good, but the spaghetti with whole wheat pasta is not. Please just give us the poison.
So there lies the rub. Do we tell you to avoid this restaurant to you knowing that there dozens of better Italian restaurants that won’t force you to eat ancient grains that we could be sending you to instead? Or do we embrace the situational utility of La Pecora Bianca, and promise you not a mind-blowing experience, but instead a good enough one that’s useful for a casual, potentially gluten free hang with a group of friends?
Ultimately, we’ll lean slightly towards the latter. At one point or another, everyone needs an easy place for dinner in this part of town, and at the very least, La Pecora Bianca is that. It’s a good move if you’re looking to grab a drink and maybe feed one of your picky friends who just came off a juice cleanse, but it is not a place you probably want to take your buddies from the office before a Knicks game.
Now you know the asterisks.
Served extra crispy with some snazzy spreadable pork sausage and pickled shallots to add some kick and tang. A nice way to start the meal, but best shared just between two people.
Definitely not the best cauliflower we’ve ever tasted and the pickled raisins that they put into the mix feel kind of unnecessary. Proceed at your own risk of disappointing monotony.
A very good pasta dish made from "Einkorn," which is not the name of the protagonist in an 80's nerd movie, but a kind of wheat. That aside, we like this dish for the homemade pork sausage and chili flakes. The kitchen can get a bit heavy-handed on the salt, but we’ve never said no to a sodium overdose.
The makeup of this dish has some serious sex appeal and by that we mean refined carbohydrates and cheese. It's a rolled stuffed pasta with prosciutto, mushrooms, and bechamel, and it should be your pasta of choice if you’re down with the gluten.
Did you just try and sneak whole wheat pasta into my spaghetti? I see what you're doing. And I do not like it.
Made with Emmer pasta (another type of whole wheat) and sitting atop a fennel seed and pistachio pesto, this one was a big plate of pass for us. Too many strange textures.