Review of Etcetera Etcetera Restaurant
By Chef Vincent Tropepe
Throughout the year thousands of people across the globe set their cites on visiting Italy to experience the very best of food, music, art and the many other elements of Italian culture. But this year was a little different. As COVID-19 dominated the globe, the dreams of many remained just that – a dream.
What if I said, “You can experience the absolute expertly crafted, extremely well thought out and home made Italian food without a passport, luggage or airfare?” If you never heard of Etcetera Etcetera restaurant in the very heart of New York City’s Hells Kitchen neighborhood then you should flock their.
The restaurant is the brainchild of its owner of 21 years Daniele Kucera who has held positions in the hospitality industry sine 1993 working in critically acclaimed restaurants like San Dominico and Jean George.
Etcetera Etcetera is a modern and cozy oasis of contemporary versions of recognizable Italian dishes. Daniele has drawn from his own unique cultural heritage and many years of restaurant expertise to create a warm sanctuary of elegant dining.
Kucera’s pursuit of culinary excellence and serving consistent menue items has him in the state of mind of a mad scientist in efforts to create the perfect formula for every item that leaves his kitchen. For example, with a growing population of patrons needing gluten free foods Kucera and his dedicated sidekick Marco from the kitchen went to work to develop gluten free ravioli. 18 months later with the precise combination of five different types of flour to make the ravioli dough (yes…you read that correctly) those patrons who need to eat gluten free can now dine on exceptional ravioli without feeling left out of the dining scene here at Etcetera Etcetera. And for those diners who do not need to eat gluten free (like myself) would take no issue in converting if every dinner was as uncompromising as this dish. These little squares of deliciousness will have you not even wanting you to open your mouth that would prevent you from enjoying every moment of the balanced flavors and incomparable mouth feel Kucera created.
Equally as exceptional to the ravioli, was the chilled tomato and cucumber soup that demonstrated the delicate balance of both the tomato and the cucumber. The slight pulpiness from the cucumber popped in your mouth releasing its freshness.
Like many restaurant owner, chef and people in the hospitality industry, Daniele has fond memories of his grandmother making chocolate pudding from scratch over a wood burning oven while listening to Beethoven – this was the inspiration of the familiar and elegantly presented Budino for dessert.
In conclusion, my esteem for Daniele Kucera is something that cannot be matched in words no matter how much I write and his cult like following I am sure feels the same. Etcetera Etcetera restaurant as far as I am concerned is on a consistent path in becoming a New York City dining institution with menu offerings, service, and drinks that is like a set list of hits from your favorite recording artist – it will never disappoint.
352 West 44th Street
New York, New York 10036