Best Italian Restaurant (2002)
Ferré Ristorante & Bar
Parked in the West Village, where the tanned and tucked preen and leased BMWs breed like lab bunnies, Patrick Colombo's Ferré is an impeccably dressed Tuscan feedlot--razor-sharp. It's a collection of well-organized shapes and colors (amber mostly) with warming wood struts tempering chilly contemporary gusts such as the back bar, a cubist flourish of blurred glass and metal. Service isn't stellar, but the food is. Perfect gnocchi (a rarity). Desperately tender pasta with give. Flake-frenzied salmon. Zesty tomato soup with a poofy-do milk froth. Ferré's kitchen physics are executed by Kevin Ascolese, the toque who turned culinary tricks at Mi Piaci and the defunct Salve! Except here he does it with an eye affixed to brutal cost-consciousness. And it's good to nosh Italian that doesn't gnaw at your credit limit.