Thu. May 26th, 2022

Hudson Yards — adjacent development Manhattan West — which opened in September 2021 — has several new restaurants and eateries, but there is no doubt that Union Square Hospitality Groups Ci Siamo is gaining the most interest.

Ci Siamo, which opens on October 12, is the first new restaurant in NYC from restaurateur Danny Meyer’s hospitality group since the sky-scraping upscale FiDi spot Manhatta (which remains temporarily closed) and casual taco spot Tacocina opened in 2018. Ci Siamo aims to be an accessible, welcoming Italian restaurant in a residential area, according to head chef Hillary Sterling, formerly of Manhattan Italian locations Vic’s and A Voce.

Inside, Sterling prepares proteins and vegetables over an open fire, makes pasta and works with pastry chef Claudia Fleming on desserts and bread. Sterling insists that even though this is yet another Italian restaurant, it will bring a different menu to the table.

“I always want to be who I am – I am an Italian chef and I see myself as one. It is my heart and my soul and my core, ”says Sterling. “The food will still be Italian inspired, but I will draw a little more from New York and some other areas.”

A white bowl filled with yellow pasta sits on a table with a napkin, fork and spoon next to the bowl.

Rigatoni Alla Gricia.

A table is covered with two dishes, one with marinated and charred reds and orange peppers;  and another with a whole trout and side cup dressing and half a lemon.

Marinated and charred peppers and a wood-fired, whole roasted trout.

Sterling has been particularly looking forward to cooking over the fire, having spent part of the pandemic on a Weber grill for various campsites and nature reserves. “Our car always has a baby Weber in it and a big cast iron bucket ready to go,” says Sterling, adding that she has been experimenting with smoke points and woods for the past few years. “This was a long time coming. I’m ready. I love to cook [fire], I love to capture that taste. ”

At Ci Siamo, Sterling has a custom-built grill with movable shelves and space for coal and wood fires to allow for different heat levels and flavors. The team will use it to prepare dishes like a whole trout filled with raisins, pine nuts, breadcrumbs and mustard greens; mussels with chili butter; delicious squash with walnuts, chili and honey; chicken with a chicken fat vinaigrette; and a large bistecca Fiorentina.

Pasta dishes will include a simple taglioni with tomatoes and buffalo butter, a tagliatelle with rabbit from New York State and potato topini, a kind of mini gnocchi. “I make it almost a shell of a pasta. I love gnocchi, but it’s really hard to do over and over again, ”says Sterling. “So we take very thin pasta shells and fill it with all the things we love about gnocchi and serve it with this mint pesto in Sardinian style, with a little anchovy, [and] a touch of cinnamon and breadcrumbs and almonds. ”

A close-up of an oval shaped pizza topped with white sauce and topped with salsa verde and anchovies.

We got White’s pizza.

Although Sterling’s pizzas were loved by Vic, there are only two small pizzas on the menu at Ci Siamo, both only available at the bar as apertivi: a marinara pizza in taglio style with just tomato and no cheese and a small round pizza bianca with anchovies , salsa verde and aioli.

The apertivo hour at the bar offers classic Italian cocktails such as a negroni and a spritz, plus several drinks with ingredients such as cynar and amaretto. The wine list is 75 percent Italian.

Desserts and breads, including a cast iron focaccia with tomato conserva, come from Fleming, who returns to Union Square Hospitality Group after baking at Gramercy Tavern nearly 20 years ago. In addition to a lemon pie, mascarpone cheesecake, chocolate amaro budino and pistachio bomboloni, Fleming and Sterling sell homemade gelato in varieties such as espresso stracciatella, hazelnut and goat’s milk lemon.

A row of three gelatos shoveled into glass with stem and rested on white saucers.

We have gelatos.

The interior of the restaurant, by designer Matt Goodrich, is based on the idea of ​​cooking with fire. This means that many of the design elements come from materials forged with fire: glass, ceramics, terracotta, glazed bricks. And the mosaic floor below was specially designed to look like small flames. The furniture is in wood from the middle of the century mixed with contemporary pieces along with sumptuous velvet and leather seats that give a homely feel. An initial lounge area provides space for a long wooden bar with a large geometric wood-fired tiled backplate design and small curved lamps in art deco style dotting the bar.

The interior of the restaurant with mandarin chairs, wooden finishes and light blue walls.

Here we are.

The narrow barroom opens up to a wider main dining room that has a terracotta-tiled top that was designed by artist Meredith Feniak with charcoal (fire-inspired, again) showing some of the products used in the food. Outside, a spacious, plant-filled terrace awaits. From almost any seat, diners can easily see the open kitchen and its blazing fire.

Three women stand in front of a brick fireplace and smile at the camera.

From L to R: Pastry chef Claudia Fleming; general manager Megan Sullivan; chef Hillary Sterling.

But whether Ci Siamo can overcome the curse from Hudson Yards, where several tent shops and restaurants have closed in the short time since it opened, remains to be seen. Although Manhattan West is a separate development of Brookfield Properties rather than Related, the two both consist of somewhat soulless skyscrapers that do not feel particularly inviting. One possible advantage of Manhattan West is that the restaurants have street entrances that surround a courtyard, as opposed to being enclosed in a mall.

“Hudson Yards is just not a place like the New Yorker that I would go to,” says Sterling, who claims that until recently she was unaware that Manhattan West bordered on Hudson Yards. “I want to bring the feeling that when you walk into a restaurant and I stand there, I still want to talk to you, and we still get those really pleasant family moments.”

Ci Siamo will be open from Tuesday to Saturday, 5 to 10 pm Reservations are available via Resy.

An exterior of a restaurant washed in dark green and fiery orange and yellow tones.

There we are in Manhattan West.

Dinner menu:

Bar snacks menu:

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