Taste of the LES: Tre

Gino Piscopo, with Eric Wines seated in the background.

Today we resume our profiles of the restaurants participating in this Thursday’s Taste of the LES with a visit to Tre, the charming little Italian place on Ludlow Street. I stopped by recently to talk with Gino Piscopo, who draws his culinary inspiration from Naples, where he was born.

The menu revolves around small plates (mini-lamb meatballs, fried rice balls, fried artichokes) and a variety of pasta dishes (fuselli Napoletani, spaghetti with skirt steak). Piscopo has been working in New York restaurants for years. He’s behind a few other ventures, including Nero in the Meatpacking District. On the LES, his partners are Eric Wines and Lauren Brooks.

The truth is it hasn’t been easy for them in the two-and-a-half years since Tre opened.  Just to the south of the restaurant is the back of the stalled “Orchard Street Hell building” (180 Orchard). The wooden barricade framing the construction site juts out into the sidewalk, obscuring the view of Tre’s appealing entrance. Right across the street is the neighborhood’s other infamous idled project, 180 Ludlow. The result has been reduced foot traffic in the middle of a brutal recession.

But Piscopo says he’s a fighter – and is not about to let Tre fail. One way he’s fighting is with a Monday night special — spaghetti & meatballs and unlimited sangria for $19.95. Tre has taken part in the Taste of the LES for the past two years. On Thursday night, he’ll be cooking risotto arancini (with shitake and porcini mushrooms) and traditional lamb meatballs.

If you’d like to learn more about the Taste of the LES and the great programs it supports at the Grand Street Settlement, click here. For information about purchasing tickets, check out the Grand Street Settlement’s web site.