It’s official: Our eyes are bigger than our stomachs. We learned this after three of us picked a slice of ham-, cheese-, and mushroom-stuffed bread while getting lunch at Piedigrotta, the world’s friendliest bakery, in Little Italy. These slices were heavy, almost ridiculously so, and we all ended up with leftovers. The cheese mortar (Romano, ricotta, and Gorgonzola, we think) was smooth and salty, the meat wasn’t fatty but tasted aged and well-salted. The mushrooms, however, were unremarkable and wouldn’t be missed. The bread itself was eggy and substantial enough to hold this slab together. A true ploughman’s lunch; sedentary office workers beware.
Our companions were smarter and picked what passes for a light lunch at Piedigrotta. The spinach pie was true to its name, with plenty of pie (not phyllo dough) and spinach, both assertive but not competing for our attention. It, too, provided leftovers. The prosciutto crudo panini, on the other hand, was perfectly sized for the average cubicle-dweller. Crusty fresh Italian bread, salty, yummy meat, dashes of oil and basil (we got rid of the incongruous iceberg lettuce)—perfètto. The pricing is somewhat hazy at Piedigrotta, but it’s cheap; we got all the above, plus a pound of cookies (those we know cost $13), for $35.