I’m totally smitten with Aunt Jake’s. It’s charming, lovely, and bustling. And it serves great quality food, and at fantastic prices to boot. There are two locations, but I’m partial to the one on Mulberry St. It’s just past the border of Chinatown, crossing over into Little Italy, and you’d really never expect to find such a quality restaurant there. Modern, fresh vibe and cuisine.
When you first walk into Aunt Jake’s, you see a foyer and bar, which conceals how large and lovely the dining space inside actually is. But despite the large size, definitely make a reservation if you’re eating anywhere close to a peak time or with a large group. This place is popular and you will wait. You may even wait if you have a reservation given that it generally operates at full capacity and they can’t control when a table will necessarily leave.
Aunt Jake’s serves primarily homemade pasta, but you can also find a few entrees. They have 10 pastas on their menu, each made daily on the premises. In fact, you can see them making the pastas by hand when you first walk in. You can match the pastas with your desired sauce, choosing from one of 10 homemade sauces on their menu. Each day they generally have a special pasta and a sauce of the day as well. You can order just an individual portion of pasta, which is what the vast majority of people do, or you can order it family style.
If you can’t decide, the servers are full of suggestions, and from what we experienced, you really can’t go wrong. There are multiple vegetable, meat, and seafood sauces, so you’re covered no matter your dietary preference. They also offer one gluten-free pasta.
You can choose to go as classic or as wild as you want, so you can go as simple as pairing the Spaghetti with the Marinara or you might choose to go more experimental and pair the Beet Pappardelle (stained with beet juice) with the Chicken Bolognese sauce that has thyme, rosemary, garlic, ground chicken, and pecorino. Each bowl of pasta is served with a slice of white Italian bread, sliced in half, presumably to mop up any sauce that’s left. Wouldn’t want that deliciousness going to waste, now, would you?
The wine list is abundant and they have several light desserts to end on, mostly ice cream and sorbet variations, but donuts and a tiramisu as well if you want something a bit more substantial. The concept is simple, but it’s executed well (albeit slowly because it’s generally very busy) and combined with the nice, cozy setting, this place is a keeper.