Michelle on Max and Il Bagatto

Restaurant: Max

Meal ordered:

Bottle of house rose

Fennel salad

Lamb ragu


My fennel salad was lightly dressed with balsamic vinegar. I could easily taste the fennel which had been finely sliced, it was refreshing and cleansed my palate.


The lamb ragu was gorgeous. It was tossed with a flat spaghetti. Definitely a crowd pleaser. My only complaint was that there was too much sauce and meat, which bothered me at Lavagna. The less the cooks smother the pasta with sauce, the more empty plates would return to the kitchen. I could not finish my ragu – and all I had for an

antipasti was fennel!

I must say, food at Max is very satisfying. The food is hearty, but fresh and delicious. Because I was with friends and we were sitting outside, we chose a bottle of rose. My table ordered the ravioli and lasagna – I sampled it as well. Lovely, warm, comfort food. Max is not inventive, but cooks homemade favorites that do not disappoint. My total bill was less than Lavagna – $33 rather than $47. Money well spent.

Restaurant: Il Bagatto

Meal ordered:

Muller Thurgau 2005

Heirloom tomatoes and grilled vegetables

Spaghetti with tomatoes and basil


Il Bagato’s sampler of antipasti was quite tasty… pickled and grilled veggies followed by our Heirloom tomatoes… these were fresh, but not particularly flavorful.


My spaghetti was not fresh and the tomatoes with basil were nothing special. I wished I had ordered the pork ragu which I kept dipping into… my friend Kerry had wisely chosen something more interesting. But I decided to try something basic from the menu to see if satisfied. My conclusion was no. The pork ragu was definitely a bit better, but even then – the pasta was “imported” and not fresh. Ditto for my spaghetti. Only a couple of items on the menu featured fresh pasta.

Il Bagatto is a neighborhood favorite and East Village staple. I sat down for my meal and it just didn’t hit home. The prociutto in my heirloom tomatoes was melt-in-your-mouth yummy… but that was the only item which stood out except the whine, which was crisp on a warm summer day.

I am officially sick to death of Italian and will take a small break until further notice.

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2 Responses to Michelle on Max and Il Bagatto

  1. 99 says:

    It’s shame you got officially sick before making it to Supper. I’ve only been to Max once, and hated it (bad wine recommendation and overpriced), and left there thinking they were just coasting on the overflow from Il Bagatto, where I haven’t been in years (I’ve lived close enough to do delivery regularly), but liked. Lavanga is the best Italian place in the neighborhood where getting a table isn’t like a rugby scrum. And no matter how much I think Frank’s is overrated, Supper has been great every time.

    Any word from anyone on those Frankie’s people on Clinton?

  2. Michelle Vaughan says:

    I am definitely going to hit Supper… it’s on the list. And also Falai’s little cafe. More to come – but I need a day off.

    I am being as picky as possible – asking the waiters about what is fresh, etc.

    I think Italians who open kitchens in New York think Americans like a lot of sauce and huge portions – when the meals would definitely benefot from pulling it down a bit and fine tuning ingredients.

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