>Bocca: 39 East 19th st. New York, NY

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For those of you who don’t know, NYC restaurant week is a wonderful time of year when about 100 restaurants offer a $35, 3 course prix fixe dinner (half or even less than half of what it would normally cost).  It’s a great way to try places that you wouldn’t necessarily try otherwise. It’s a perfect opportunity for restaurants to lure new customers in and give them a great reason to return. Or not. The problem with this approach is that a lot of the time, the prix fixe choices become sort of half-assed representations of what the restaurant is capable of…and don’t always showcase the best of their abilities. This was the location for my 2nd annual random Facebook friends restaurant week dinner party- so a group of 8 people who didn’t know each other and I met here for dinner tonight. Well, I’ll start with the positive. The company was fantastic. It’s amazing how much fun a group of strangers can have, and regardless of our meals- we had a blast. The service was fine. Nothing special, but nothing terrible either. (although they did forget to take a coffee order until someone finally asked about it) Our meals were fine. Nothing was bad, but nothing was so fabulous that any of us will be chomping at the bit to go back. I started with a homemade mozzarella and tomato salad. The tomatoes were unbelievable and I was happy to find out that they were from the Union Square Farmer’s market. They were probably my favorite part of the whole meal. The cheese was fresh and had a nice flavor, but was a bit dense and stringy for what should have been a creamy consistency. The one small basil leaf left something to be desired and I felt a little gypped. My entree was a linguine with pesto and fresh crab. It was incredibly over-salted and had way too much garlic- even for a garlic lover like myself. The pesto itself was so strong and overpowering that I completely lost the crab taste altogether when it really should have been the star of the dish. The pasta was quite good actually, but I think I would have appreciated that a lot more if the sauce wasn’t so strong. For dessert I had the chocolate option, because is there really any other option if chocolate is one of them? I think not. It was pretty tasty. It’s pretty hard to disappoint me if there is chocolate and ice cream in the same dish. That said, it was good but forgettable, generic, and the presentation was eh. All in all, this was a fine choice for a great deal, but there are better options out there. I should mention that some of the other dishes on the table were far superior to what I ordered, so it might warrant another try with different choices. Then again, we live in a city with 20,000 dining options so for me, it’s on to the next.

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