Since 2004, Jonathan Waxman — the California chef credited for bringing the fresh, sunny cooking of his home state to New York decades ago — has been at the helm of Barbuto, a casual, welcoming and highly regarded West Village restaurant. It had to vacate its garagelike premises last year. Then, just a few weeks after opening in a new space nearby, Barbuto was derailed by the pandemic. Mr. Waxman’s new cookbook about the restaurant gives its history, notably explaining why so much of his food relates to Italy. Even his famous roast chicken is slathered with salsa verde. The recipes in this book, including the chicken, are simple affairs, often amounting to a centerpiece protein precisely cooked, then dressed with a salad or vegetable and sauce. His baked hake with leeks is a fine example. Cauliflower soup and cacio e pepe are two recipes worth whipping up on short notice. Pizza-making and pastas are covered in depth.
“The Barbuto Cookbook: California-Italian Cooking From the Beloved West Village Restaurant” by Jonathan Waxman (Abrams, $40).