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‘Aprite La Bocca,’ Says Team Behind Cacio e Pepe and Spiga

Mouth of Truth not pictured.Photo: Melissa Hom

The team that brought us Cacio e Pepe in the East Village and Spiga on the Upper West Side has expanded its Italian empire yet again, converting Gramercy’s short-lived Ora into the sleek new Bocca. Alessandro Peluso and his chef-partner Salvatore Corea serve what they call creative Roman cuisine — or at least their interpretation of it, meaning a combination of regional classics like their signature cacio e pepe pasta (ritualistically tossed in a giant wheel of Parmesan) and straccetti di manzo, ragged strips of beef, alongside innovations like shrimp with buffalo-ricotta fondue. The Roman theme is subtly echoed in the décor, which incorporates a reproduction of the city’s Mouth of Truth sculpture, along with the obligatory poster of Fellini’s Roma. And Peluso is particularly proud of the bar, where he presides over a list of Italian-inspired cocktails, like the Pimm’s No. 1–spiked Chinotto Cup. As at their first two restaurants, Corea’s savory slant toward dessert is on display in dolci like basil panna cotta with tomato coulis — a caprese salad of sorts for sweet tooths. —Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld

Bocca, 39 E. 19th St., nr. Park Ave. S.; 212-387-1200.

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