Little Italy is not only the home of Aunt Jake's but a place of history for New York City. In the 1880's there was a mass migration of Italians to New York City and during that time Little Italy was considered slums for many immigrants. In its beginning, Little Italy encompassed 50 plus blocks of Italian influence, but today it spans a total of three blocks on Mulberry between Broome and Canal. With the expansion of neighborhoods nearby such as Chinatown and SoHo (meaning South of Houston) it has left Little Italy as a neighborhood heavily saturated with restaurants, but a major tourist attraction. At 151 Mulberry you have one of the newer restaurants that will have you confused by their name. Who is Aunt Jake?
Aunt Jake's is a contemporary Italian restaurant that allows you to pick your pasta (that is made FRESH IN HOUSE) and your meat/sauce. Fear not my gluten-free friends there is a pasta option for you as well. There are a total of 10 different sauces and ten types of pasta. If you are an extremely indecisive person (like many people I know), you can select from their pre-set pasta entrees such as Three-Cheese Meat Lasagna, Fettuccine Reno Vongole, or Risotto with butternut squash. They also have daily specials such as Lobster Fra Diavolo (lobster in spicy red sauce), Shrimp Scampi, and Dry Aged Steak for Two. During my time at Aunt Jake's, I tried the Three Cheese Lasagna, Calamari, Roasted Garlic Pecorino with Farfalle, and Chicken Bolognese with Four Cheese Herb Ravioli. Their complimentary bread-sticks are addicting, and they remind me of Olive Garden but less of a strong garlic taste and a little more firm.
Aunt Jake's is not only a place to enjoy a nice pasta entree but also create it in their Pasta Lab. Their Pasta Lab is located on the top floor of the Little Italy location. A month or two ago I was invited to a blogger event sponsored by Santa Margherita Wines where I learned how to make pasta from scratch. I will tell you from that class I learned how much muscle goes into making fresh pasta. The class is typically an hour and a half long, and you can book through OpenTable for Thursday, Saturday, or Sunday. During your time in the Pasta Lab you will have an instructor walk you through the process from beginning to end, take home uncooked pasta, and THEY FEED YOU!
This is place is great for a fast-casual dining experience and groups as well. I would highly encourage reservations which is possible via OpenTable to avoid a long wait. If you do happen to have a long wait for a table feel free to grab a drink at the speakeasy next door called Mulberry Project. Just remember to look for a red door to the left of Aunt Jake's.