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Bocce Bar

At Bocce Bar in midtown, executive chef Timon Balloo doesn't want to dazzle you. He cooks things simply - braising duck legs in stock before plunging them into a pan with orecchiette, squash, and Parmesan. They are finished in a sauce that's thick enough to coat a wooden spoon and tastes of sage and thyme. This is the kind of recipe you'd tear from a favorite magazine, a dish you'd serve at a fancy dinner party at home. Located nearby sister restaurant Sugarcane Raw Bar & Grill, the setting here reflects this new sensibility, one that steps away from bourbon drinks in Mason jars and leaps toward aged Negronis in rocks glasses. Outside, a bocce court is surrounded by foliage and, most of the time, a drunken din. Inside, couples fill the lusty dining room as they sip glasses of Barolo and share platters of prosciutto, porchetta di testa, and buffalo ricotta with truffles. Try Balloo's branzino, which is plopped atop sautéed cipollini onions, fennel, and Calabrian chiles. It is both delicate and decadent - an effect he achieves often at Bocce Bar.Read our full review.