Barbuto’s back — and if the beloved Italian restaurant looks, smells, sounds and tastes the same at a new location a few hundred feet from the West Village original, chef-owner Jonathan Waxman wants us to know that was the whole idea.
When he and his partners were planning a nearby reboot after the old Barbuto’s landlord booted it from 775 Washington St. last year, “We were all emphatic,” he tells The Post. “It had to be the same style, the same staff T-shirts, the same food. If the food changes, people get angry.”
The first Barbuto was a brave stroke in 2004, when downtown was still struggling after 9/11 and the High Line park, the Standard hotel and new Whitney Museum were years away.
But people fell for Waxman’s brand of deep-flavored rustic Italian with a light California tinge — especially for his famous pollo al forno, roast chicken with salsa verde, which doesn’t miss a beat in its new home.
The digs at 113 Horatio St. can fool you into thinking it’s the same address, too. It has the same rough-hewn vibe, if not quite the same look, the same ear-splitting noise, a similar open kitchen and the same number of indoor seats (74). Outdoor seating will come soon.
There is one change: Barbuto’s monster oven — which Waxman designed 17 years ago with upstate oven-builder, Nobile Attie, and that turned out those succulent chickens by the zillions — couldn’t make the move.
“It was too heavy,” Waxman says. But the layman diner probably won’t miss it: The chef’s subbed it with a near-exact replica, also by Attie.
Back to the famous bird, which, surprisingly, has no exotic pedigree.
“It’s Bell & Evans,” a supermarket brand, says Waxman. “They’re really good.”
In a town full of overcooked fowls, Barbuto’s $29 specimen emerges moist and perfectly salted throughout the light meat and dark. It’s dressed only with a “classic green sauce,” which includes capers, anchovies, garlic, parsley, arugula, basil, tarragon and sage.
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