Simple but canonical Italian is La Quercia’s soul: dishes authentic, gracefully executed and memorable enough to redefine your ideal. A dish of cacio e pepe—perfectly al dente, silky and lightly peppery—is enhanced by a glass of earthy primitivo from a cliché-free, clever list of Italian wines. Amatriciana exudes comfort with wide, offcut maltagliati ribbons and rich nuggets of guanciale. That Chef Adam Pegg was awarded Canada’s first Master of Italian Gastronomy from Italy’s Slow Food School shows in idyllic renditions of risotto. Antipasti boards and small plates like vitello tonnato, its soft pink folds of veal lapping a crown of creamed tuna and tiny capers, are leisurely starts at a place that still blocks out two-hour dinner reservations. Bright contorni like crisp orange and fennel salad or fiery rapini contrast with the secondi, including a voluptuous, smoky rib-eye. Euro-flair desserts—think strudel and Sachertorte—are best enjoyed with an amaro or grappa from an extensive list. The restaurant entrance is as unpretentious as its Jericho Village location. Yet this ’hood is a facade for multi-million-dollar ocean-view homes, just as La Quercia’s casually warm, woody room is a quiet front for culinary achievement that will have you dreaming in pasta until you return.
Photos: LA QUERCIA