the dish

Coco Pazzo’s Bucatini Con Le Sardi Breaks the Rules

One of the things you think you know about the Italian table is that the pasta stands alone. You don’t put the meatball on the plate with the spaghetti. It ain’t cricket. Well, Pino Luongo, the renegade O.G. of Tuscan cuisine, is having none of that. At the Soho reboot of his ’90s-era megahit Coco Pazzo, he’s tossed out the primi and replaced them with a menu category he calls piatto unico, one-dish meals that unite a pasta and a hunk of protein on the same plate. There’s pappardelle with braised beef brisket and even rigatoni and meatballs, by golly. The one pictured above pairs bucatini with sardines, in a sort of deconstructed pasta con le sarde. The featured fish in that Sicilian classic usually takes the form of broken-down bits in the sauce, but here they’re grilled whole and plated next to the bucatini. “I love pasta con le sarde,” says Luongo, “but I always want to taste more sardine.” Now he can.

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On the dinner menu at Coco Pazzo; $20; 160 Prince St., at Thompson St.; no phone.

*A version of this article appears in the April 2, 2018, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!

Coco Pazzo’s Bucatini Con Le Sardi Breaks the Rules