Gnocco is a little hidden gem in the East Village that is screaming for big groups to populate its large back garden space. It’s named after the homemade deep fried dough which is on the menu and comes with a selection of typical northern Italian cold cuts for an appetizer. The pizza is the main standout here. It’s thin and light and doesn’t weigh you down if you “accidentally” eat the whole thing. It’s not greasy and you can still look good in your Friday night getup after devouring it. The branzino is cooked just fine, but if you are a seafood lover, you can find a better whole fish at nearby Il Buco Alimentari e Veneria.
Gnocco is one of the easiest places to host a big party, and the back corner square table that fits 12 + makes dining with all of your friends successful and stress-free because you can actually see and talk to everyone. Plus, there are no mandatory set price prix-fixe menus. The restaurant has a European laid back attitude with exposed brick and painted walls with colored landscape scenes outside. You can make a reservation pretty late in the game, and the energetic atmosphere makes Gnocco a dinner party go-to. The wine list offers some affordable options, and we all got out of there under $50 each. Wowzers is right. This is a great alternative if the line at Lil Frankies is too long, and check out the speakeasy the Blind Barber next door for a post dinner nightcap.
***FYI: Only Cash and American Express are accepted.