New York minute/Early November 2010

The promising: Buca on the Upper West Side, where friends steered us and where we happily headed to escape bedroom/bathroom restoration hell. As we’d been warned, the place is totally tiny (21 seats), so I didn’t complain when we got the TV dinner-tray-size table leading into the bathroom when we landed around 7. The wine was the kind that Riedel could not elevate, and of course it was served in tumblers, so it tasted overpriced at $6 and $7 a glass. But the pizza was amazing, and not least because it was all of $11. We didn’t even mind that we ordered the special with arugula and mushrooms and got one with sausage and broccoli rabe. Gnocchi weren’t bad, mostly because they were baked with tomato sauce and cheese. And the owner keeps it all light. Our pizza arrived in minutes; when we remarked on that, he joked with the chef that it must have been frozen. WIGB? Absolutely. Early and with cash. 201 West 103d Street off Amsterdam, 212 531 8730.