My latest discovery is the newly opened Caffè Storico (“storico” means historic), located in the renovated New York Historical Society (170 Central Park West at 77 street, New York, NY 10024). The oldest museum in New York – yes, it really is! – recently completed a $65 million renovation that included a new space for the Café.
Stephen Starr, the Philadelphia restaurateur who owns also Buddakan and Morimoto in Manhattan, won the contract and hired Jim Burke as a chef. He has worked for a few years in Venice, so the highlights of the menu include typically Venetian cicchetti (tapas-like dishes).
For example, you can find mozzarella in carrozza, whipped baccalà and arancini. I was in the mood for fried food, so I chose the arancini with a small plate of olives. So good! After that, my friend and I ordered gnocchi gratinati with black truffle fonduta (melted cheese) and rigatoni with sausage ragù and pecorino di fossa (a very fine Italian cheese). I have to say that everything was delicious, but the plates were quite small! More French than Italian portions…
Anyway, I forgot about it when I saw the over 50 labels on the wine list. The elegant, but fresh atmosphere also helped for sure! The first thing I noticed was all the pretty Chinese and 19th century European porcelain (all from the museum’s collection) adorning the walls. Also striking: a giant marble slab shaped into a cicchetti bar where the small plates are prepared and served and the open-air kitchen. Dazzling chandeliers, high ceilings, and cheery butter yellow banquettes are also attention-grabbing.
An amazing place for romantic dinners, I can assure you! I don’t know about the brunch menu, but you can try it and let me know. Deal?