epicure_danielas pasta and pastries_dec11

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“It’s like eating in a Sardinian home,” says Stephano Useli, 19, from behind the counter of his mother’s eponymous Hampden cafe, Daniela’s Pasta and Pastries. Everything in the tiny storefront is made in the building’s second-floor kitchen using recipes from Daniela’s grandmother and great-grandmother— from the buttery puff pastry used in pizzette, small round pastries filled with mozzarella and tomato or anchovy and capers, to the focaccia layered with thinly sliced eggplant or zucchini to the plump squares of lasagna oozing béchamel. There are only two tables, so pastas are best taken home for dinner, but stop in for an espresso and a many-layered sfogliatelle pastry or better yet, a bomboloni, the light-as-a-bubble Italian doughnut filled with lemon custard. Gaze at the mural of Cagliari, Sardinia’s capital, and dream of the Mediterranean. 900 W. 36th St., 443-759-9320. –Mary K. Zajac

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