It’s remarkably freeing to be able to sit down at a table and know the only decision you have to make is red or white, and meat or fish. By day, Torrisi, a slice of a spot on Mulberry Street, just a few blocks north of the red-sauce haven that is Little Italy, does classic hero sandwiches and food by the pound. By night, the sub shop/takeout place turns into a family style restaurant, serving up dinners for a prix fixe price ($50 per person). You make your choice and the food starts coming.
It might be fresh burratta, lightly fried artichokes, some antipasti and a salad, followed by a pasta course (Frank’s linguine with clams and tabasco) and the main, which might be a BBQ lamb shoulder with beans and molasses or a striped bass with pickled green tomatoes. It Italian food stripped of pretense and totally fulfilling. The downsides: they don’t take ressies, they don’t have a lot of tables, and they don’t do more tables larger than six. They have a thing for the Beastie Boys, which for me, doesn’t really fly with the atmosphere. And sometimes the hostess can be a tad elitist, which is weird for a Beastie Boy-playing, chicken parm sub-serving family-style restaurant. Then again, it’s Nolita, a place where anti-elitism elitism flourishes.
Overall, eating in a psuedo market/sub shop is fun. I think it’s a great place for four people who know and love each other and love to share good food.
Torrisi Italian Specialties, 250 Multberry St., between Spring and Prince, Nolita. Visit their website at piginhat.com