Locanda Verde, located at 377 Greenwich St. in Tribeca, is the latest incarnation of a Robert Deniro-owned restaurant formerly known as Ago. When the name was changed, the chef was as well, and Andrew Carmellini, formerly known for his superlative work at A Voce, took over. The prices dropped too.
When I visited LV, it was filled -- even on a Tuesday evening. The restaurant sports a contemporary but woody atmosphere, and the servers and hostesses were without exception friendly and charming.
The food was delicious. The appetizer bread, a sort of pizza focaccia, was crusy, earthy, and had a delicious covering of melted cheese on top. It was served room temperature, and its thick fluffy dough and heartiness made me ask for another.
My main course was a pasta course, a malfagliatti, which was cooked in a pesto sauce with parmesan. The pasta, the pesto, the accompanying pine nuts, and the parmesan were all excellent. No missteps here, except for the fact that the portion was too small. There is no way you could eat just that portion and be full.
So I also had a side of broccoli cooked in olive oil and gratings of cheese. Also fantastic. The broccoli was perfectly cooked, the garlicky spices delectable.
Finally, and certainly no slouch, was dessert. I got a panna cotta with strawberry and rhubarb on the side. The panna cotta -- and I'm usually not such a fan -- was like an incredible cozy vanilla pudding. The strawberry and rhubarb were fresh and complemented it. They were accessorized with a small chocolate biscuit, also baked with excellent technique. The dessert as a whole was scrumptious, although, again, perhaps too small. Though given health issues maybe that's a good thing!
All in all, the reinveted restaurant at the corner of Greenwich and N. Moore is a warm and very human creation, with a menu that conveys the charm, personality, and culinary acumen of its creators.