If you thought celebrity chefs only cooked for the rich and famous, you’re in for a treat at NYC’s Becco. TV personality and cookbook author Lydia Bastianich and her son Joe set up shop in a historic brownstone on Restaurant Row in 1993, and they have been pleasing lovers of Italian wine and food ever since. Executive Chef William Gallagher oversees faithful recreations of recipes from Lydia’s five cookbooks, and sommeliers Josh Stanko, Carolina Erazo, and Nathan Mergen have assembled a list of almost one hundred Italian wines, all priced at twenty-five dollars. A refreshing Bastianich Flor Prosecco Rose’ NV is an excellent way to start off your meal. The “Sinfonia de Pasta,” features unlimited tableside service of three of Lydia’s pastas for only $22.95, and may include fettucine with spring pea Bolognese or spinach ravioli in butter sage sauce. “Joe’s Veal Chop” is a delicious way to thrill the carnivore in your party, and the “Zuppa di Pesce” in lobster broth brings you straight to the Mediterranean.
Standouts on the $25 wine list include Mastoberardino Lacrima Christi del Vesuvio Bianco 2008, Planeta Rose’ di Syrah 2008, and Tenuta le Querce Aglianico del Vulture il Viola 2006. A reserve list is also available, with bottles ranging from $30 to $2000. The knowledgeable sommeliers will cheerfully guide you through all of Italy’s wine regions. If you still have room, cap off your meal with a home-made dessert sampler and a glass of sparkling Marenco Brachetto d’Acqui Pineto 2008.