It's time for Little Italy to fight back. Opening with a neighborhood party Wednesday, Bacaro is set to bring authentic Venetian atmosphere and cuisine to a tucked away block south of Canal.
When the sun sets in Venice and the gondoliers retire for the evening, you will often find them gathering at local bacari, sort of workingman's wine pubs, stepping into the forming shadows to sip an ombra (a small glass, literally meaning shadow) of wine.
Inspired by chef/owner Frank DeCarlo (Peasant) and his wife Dulci's last trip to Venice, Bacaro is a tale of two bars. Upstairs, sunny and bright from the breezy front picture windows, is a charming wine bar with dark wood rafters, a stately marble bar, and a series of small tables perfect for lounging with a carafe of wine and some bar snacks (try the marinated sardines or the spicy fried meatballs).
The real draw of Bacaro, however, is its engrossing, catacumbal downstairs, all exposed brick, slate floors and rough wood accents. The lighting is dark, sexy. The main room, with another large bar and a few scattered tables, gives way to two wine cellars, a salami room (yes it needs its own room) and two darkly lit vault rooms. It's here where larger parties will get lost in a languorous meal of braised duck, smoked mozzarella lasagna and endless bottles of Valpolicella and Amarone (the wine list has 75 bottles from regions surrounding Venice).
Just like in the old country.