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Swordfish at Rafele

En garde, swordfish lovers! The rapier-wielding chef Raffaele Ronca dominates this fish better than Errol Flynn. For those days when you crave something light yet substantial, the swordfish ($28) at Rafele restaurant is just the order, with a brazen sear imparting a smoky flavor to the fish’s flesh; plump cherry tomatoes, capers and green Sicilian olives adding slices of sharpness; and a lemon and olive oil sauce lightening it all up.

Swordfish Rafele

Though the swordfish comes in from Long Island, Ronca, a native of Naples, says, “This preparation is like the smell of Naples in the summer—the grilling, the fish, the lemons. Swordfish is very special in the south of Italy. For us, it was the closest thing to meat, a real luxury, because it was an expensive dish that had the feel of eating a fine steak.”

The remainder of Ronca’s menu represents a tour of Italy, from his heralded arancini (rice balls) ($10) to wood-fired pizzas ($12) to homemade pastas such as a classic fettuccine Bolognese ($14). Opened in June 2012, the chef is gearing up to celebrate the Village restaurant’s first anniversary.

Rafele
29 Seventh Ave. South
212-242-1999
Rafele.com

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