Close your eyes and spin the fork of bucatini Napolitan into your mouth. You’re bound to smile as you think about a long-ago bowl of pasta packed in your lunch box. How could something so simple bring so much joy?
At The Classic All Day, Benjy Levit’s newest concept on Washington Avenue (where Benjy's was before), simplicity shines. Its quintessential dish might be that bucatini, a heaping bowl that recalls a specific comfort food from Chef Mike Potowski’s youth. Potowski, whose origins are Japanese and Lithuanian, remembers his mother making a spaghetti dish with ketchup and Spam, an Eastern interpretation of classic American cuisine that dates to the post-World-War II modernization of Japan.
Potowski with Chef Maria Gonzalez ditched the ketchup and spam for tomatoes and a salty pork sausage, plus guanciale for fat and texture. The result is a beautiful lunch: thick bucatini noodles that remind one of canned Chef Boyardee, only the ingredients are primarily locally sourced and satisfyingly fresh.
The Classic All Day, like Levit’s other ventures (Local Foods, Benjy’s) specializes in sourcing locally whenever possible. In fact, the restaurant is putting the finishing touches on a rooftop garden that will contribute to the daily ingredient list. The menu offers numerous changeups on the everyday lunch menu—grilled cheese with pimento; a BLT with arugula and avocado; Russian pelmeni dumplings stuffed with mushrooms, rye, and hazelnuts—while the restaurant itself is an open, bright-white canvas with plenty of windows and a long bar perfect for happy hour.
The all-day menu is available 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday. Breakfast is daily from 8-11 a.m. and includes a pork-belly-and-egg sandwich; scrambles; a quinoa and veggie bowl; and Kaya toast, a Malaysian delicacy of coconut jam in toast, with coddled eggs and chorizo.