I returned to Rafele, a small Italian restaurant in the West Village, for a friend’s birthday late lunch on a cold winter’s day. The restaurant was very quiet, not at all like in the evening.
Don’t miss the melange of roasted cauliflower, black currants, caramelized onion, pine nuts and a soupçon of breadcrumbs ($14) as a starter.
Since Rafele wasn’t busy, I asked our very friendly server whether my pasta could be finished in parchment paper in their wood-burning fireplace as had been done with the night’s special cacio e pepe papillote during my last visit. The chef was accommodating! I indulged in their rich fettuccine Bolognese en papillote. The thin ribbons of pasta came tossed with slow-roasted pork and beef in a tomato-based sauce ($18) all wrapped in parchment. The waiter presented and opened the package for me, then sprinkled the contents with grated cheese. Yum!