- scene: Unassuming from the outside, small, and minimally decorated, it is no frills but cool
- sip: Sake, beer, wine
- savor: Egg, caviar, uni; pork buns; lamb bolognese ramen
- sit: With a date you want to impress with foodie cred; with your adventurous girl friend
- spend: $$
- address: 228 East 10th Street (between First and Second Avenue)
- phone number: (212)387-9545
- website: www.dieciny.com
Dieci is a very interesting little spot, almost bashfully unassuming and perfect at executing what so many others have explicitly set out to do and failed. Dieci is an intricate hybrid of Japanese and Italian sensibilities, serving small and large plates that are gimmick -free and seamlessly executed. The food is ambitious but not pretentious, there are no suggestions from the staff about how to order, and everything is presented beautifully without being too precious. I was really surprised and impressed with Dieci, and I am excited to return with select friends, and most importantly to try the uni pasta.
Dieci is very small inside, and not big on decorations- some dark wood and candles, that is about it. It is saved from blahsville by light from large windows and the notion of Japanese minimalism The menu is categorized by appetizers, pastas, mains, specials. Everything leans a little slightly towards Japanese or Italian, or a new incorporation of both. The overall ambiance is very Japanese, with strict attention to detail and gracious hospitality. Anyway, vibe shmibe, the food is the real winner here, so let’s dig in… ( see what I did there?)
Fluke sashimi- could have used a little citrus kick, but the salsa was fresh and had a little zip, a nice twist on the now ubiquitous yellowtail jalapeño
Scrambled eggs with uni and caviar- I mean…soft, salty, melty, shiver inducing dish…well-priced for the size, so it is tempting to get two
Shrimp dumplings- these were a special, and tasted very fresh, with water chestnuts for added crunch
Pork buns- Although these are pretty common now, this version was a little different because the sauce was not too sticky or thick, and the pork was pretty lean; also, these were huge
Ramen with lamb bolognese- These are more along the mazeman style of ramen, (no broth), and the bolognese could stand up to any served at an Italian restaurant. The noodles were a perfect texture and consistency, firm and curly and…sorry, I just got some drool on my keyboard. Also, they split it onto separate dishes for us, which I love.
I was thoroughly charmed by Dieci, and I hope that they keep up the good work. Reservations are recommended because the place is tiny, ( I feel badly that I changed mine twice once I saw the size of the place), and hopefully we still be able to get in after more people find out about it.