Under a Hundred: Buca Yorkville on a budget

Is it possible to eat well (and be full) for under a hundred at Buca?


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All of the carbs and pesce at Buca

When dining out, it’s always fascinating to be seated next to people worth watching. And for our Buca Yorkville (53 Scollard St.) experience, we were in luck.

To the right: a Gucci-decked duo, silently prodding and photographing their food. To the left: a May-December romance wrapped in leopard print.

Buca
Salumi di Mare (3) $27
Cod Tongues $18
Pizza Caponata $22
Bigoli Pasta $24 
Total $91

Beginning
With stomachs churning, we went for carbs. Instead of opting to stretch our dough for max nosh, we should’ve ordered with a touch of restraint. And wine. 

Buca Yorkville is known for its maritime bent, so it was imperative we order seafood. A few Piscean apps to start: cod tongues and selection of three salumi di mare, a cheeky seafood makeover of charcuterie standards. 

The duo hit the table at the same time, forcing us to first attack the quickly cooling Fogo Island cod. The deep-fried tongues with their gelatinous texture were held in check by a sturdy bread crumb coating. A hearty start.

When we turn our focus to the house-cured seafood, the side-striped shrimp mortadella, studded with pistachio and dried clay pepper, is our favourite of the treats.  


Middle
And then our misstep arrived: pizza caponata. On the menu, it read like summer: preserved tomato, eggplant, zucchini, pine nuts and marsala-soaked raisins with a bit of pepperoncini kick. Scissoring the ’za resulted in great fun. After all, who wants to cut something with a pesky knife? But alas, eyeing the decadent fish plates arriving next to us: we erred. Buca makes decent pie but ... raw sea bass with prosecco and lemon?! 

The finale
Luckily, we redeemed ourselves with bigoli pasta. A swirl of duck egg pasta arrived swimming in duck offal ragu, mascarpone and basil. This standout dish was gone in a flash.

Stuffed, we spotted a tray of glistening nodini walk past us, realizing we’d forgotten to order those. Too late! We cursed ourselves for not getting them with our final $9. Next time we’ll knock back wine while inhaling pesce, nodini and bigoli. You live, you learn.

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