Il Bambino, the legendary Astoria panini concept restaurant by Darren Lawless recently opened on historic West 8th Street.
Taking a cue from the old country, chef-owner Darren Lawless' panini philosophy is simple; to serve top quality hand-made meats and cheeses between two pieces of freshly baked bread. In addition to an American take on the Italian classic, the eatery will serve antipasti, insalate and tapas, paired with a well-curated selection of wine and beer.
Appealing to West Village night owls, Il Bambino will roll out a Late Night Brunch menu featuring savory breakfast panini such as, The Notorious P.I.G. with smoked bacon, scrambled eggs, aged cheddar and truffle spread. How good is Il Bambino? New York Magazine named them a critics pic and The Brownstoner named their panini as one of the 7 best sandwiches in Astoria. Zagat chimes in with an impressive 26 food rating as well. The atmosphere at the new West Village space is expansive but cozy with a New American, rustic flair.
The new restaurant takes to heart Il Bambinos longstanding commitment to marrying quality with simplicity. With a hand-built bar, lunch counter, and 64 seats, Il Bambino is a versatile eatery that appeals to lunch, dinner, and late night crowds. While the food speaks for itself, the décor serves as a welcoming and functional complement to the panini concept. Once the staple ingredients are in place, the culinary masterminds at Il Bambino get creative with variations on the classic panini.
Crostini range from $7 to $9 and panini range from $9 to $12. Menu items include a baby string bean salad with truffle vinaigrette, toasted bread and shaved parmesan; chorizo crostini with apricot butter and goat cheese; tuna spread crostini with horseradish aioli, dirty chips and jalapeño ranch; Soppressata panini with hot peppers, Asiago and basil pesto; and Italian meatloaf panini with onion jam, tomato pesto, Lawless spicy mayo and provolone. Weekend brunch items include The Pork Chopper with Porchetta, scrambled eggs, pickled jalapenos, Russian dressing and Asiago ($12); and the cleverly named Pass the Hash with garlic roasted potatoes, chorizo, truffle aioli, scrambled eggs and Parmesan ($11).
As is the case in Astoria, providing the customer with the best service and ingredients is the main goal of the West Village outpost. The unpretentious yet inventive menu and exciting selection of libations will have the other three boroughs clamoring for an Il Bambino of their own