Charles Devigne took over Pescatore at Second Ave and 50th St. in Manhattan three years ago, but he’s no rookie in the restaurant business. He worked his way up at the restaurant from waiter to general manager and knows every facet of the operation.
Executive Chef Kenneth Johnson also has more than 20 years of experience and has helmed Pescatore’s kitchen since 2009. No wonder food critics consider Pescatore a Midtown East institution.
The neighborhood destination has been serving Italian cuisine for 20 years that is “surprisingly good for the price,” according to food guide Zagat.
Although its location might be considered off the beaten path for tourists and celebrities, Yankees Derek Jeter and Roger Clemens, comedian Jackie Mason, actress Tyne Daly and actor Tom Berenger have all been spotted dining there.
The chef’s specialties incllude pizzetta, antipasti and pastas at moderate prices. Pizzetta, ranging from $12 to $15, include caprino with goat cheese, caramelized onions, spicy coppa and fig marmalade and croque-madame with fontina cheese, prosciutto, asparagus and soft-centered egg.
Antipasti, $6.95 for one and $18.95 for three people, includes mushroom risotto balls with truffle aioli and citrus cured anchovies with shaved fennel, orange and dry olives.
Their roasted beet salad includes ricotta salata and an Amalfi seafood salad is filled with octopus, shrimp, calamari and mussels. They are priced at $6 and $10 respectively.
For the diet-conscious, the restaurant offers full and half-portions of pasta. They range from $5 for a half-portion to $20 for a full plate. Specialties include fettuccini d’aragosta with lobster, leeks and tomatoes in a lobster grappa cream and gnocchi with broccoli rabe, fennel sausage and red pepper flakes.
Secondi dishes range from $16 to $30 and include pan roasted Chilean sea bass with cauliflower, currant, almond condiment and mushroom farro. Another favorite is slow roasted veal shoulder with creamy polenta and forest mushrooms.
Desserts are $9 and include cheesecake served with vanilla custard sauce and berry coulis as well as ricotta zeppole with berry, vanilla and chocolate sauces.
Lunch, served Monday through Friday, offers sandwiches with fries or salad for $10.95 to $13.95 and salads for $8.95 to $15.95. Selections include crispy tilapia basilica with arugula, tomatoes, avocado and spicy basil lemon mayonnaise. Grilled marinated jumbo shrimp spiedini comes with organic quinoa salad.
Brunch, served Saturday and Sunday, includes classic breakfast offerings, from $6.95 to $9.95. The restaurant’s goat cheese frittata comes with cured tomatoes and scallions served with white or whole wheat toast. Bourbon French toast includes bananas, walnuts and maple syrup. A breakfast entrée or lunch sandwich with Mimosa or Bloody Mary and choice of coffee or tea is $13.95.
The restaurant also boasts a full wine cellar with more than 30 different wines, from a full bodied Lunadoro Vino Nobile di Montepulciano from Tuscany to a Bouchon Sauvignon Blanc from Chile.
The decor is a neutral cream, brown and green. Large booths line the walls and smaller tables fill the center of the dining floor. Outdoor seating is also available.
Pescatore is open Monday through Friday for lunch from noon to 4 p.m. and dinner until 11:30 p.m. Brunch is offered from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and dinner is served until 11:30 p.m. on Saturday and 11 p.m. on Sunday.
955 2nd Avenue
Between 50th & 51st
New York, NY 10022