Il Buco is one of my favorite restaurants in NYC. The space started out as an antique shop in the '90s and at one point they just decided to start serving food, so the space still has all the quirky reminders of its past. The design is really organic and natural, it's not slick or overly thought-out. I think the chef, Ignacio Mattos, is doing something really interesting and creative with Italian food, taking its traditions and customs and stripping them down and making them seasonal and local in a fresh way.
One of the things that really drew me to Il Buco was the design of the space. It's really organic and natural, not too slick or overly thought-out. The space is just really dark and cozy, all warm brick and dark wooden furniture. Everything is very rustic, in a charming way. My favorite part of the restaurant is the chandeliers, which are made out of pots and pans and teapots and other kitchen items. It's so simple, but it's perfect for the restaurant. At the bottom of this post you can check out Ignacio's recipe for his persimmon salad.
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Photographed and illustrated for the New York Times T Magazine - 2009 in Milan
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