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Week of December 10, 2001

Follonico closed last summer, but pasta partisans who mourned its demise will be happy to discover a new cucina italiana inhabiting its cozy Flatiron premises. Ottimo ("the best") is a none-too-humble collaboration between local winery owner Silvio Galterio (pictured, left) and Neapolitan chef Salvatore Esposito (right), who cooked most recently at La Pizza Fresca. He'll continue to ply his buffalo mozzarella-and-San Marzano tomato pizza trade, supplementing it with a full menu of mostly southern-Italian specialties like sautéed spinach with raisins and pine nuts, orecchiette with anchovies and broccoli rabe, and enough seafood to make one consider — momentarily, at least — forgoing the fried calzone stuffed with ricotta and bits of braised pork.
6 West 24th Street
 Cuisine: Italian


It's been eleven years since Brian McNally opened '44,' his last restaurant in New York, but every one he's helmed since the Odeon in 1980 (with brother Keith) has been a smash. At Smith, his newest place, the menu in the 85-seat back room is full of hearty bistro food, like roast duck breast with artichoke spaetzle and mustard greens — chef Kenny Addington, who's worked at '44' and Patroon, seems to scatter truffles everywhere, from the duxelles to the mashed potatoes — and the smaller café up front has its own extensive plat, ranging from oyster pie with salsify and leeks to steak-frites. In true French style, the roast chicken is carved at tableside. But McNally's still trying for something casual: "You can just come into the front room for a drink if you want," he assures, and alcohol prices are relatively friendly. As for the name, it's a nod to McNally's roots, a reference to the working-class hero of the sixties British film The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner — and "the most ordinary name I could think of."
64 East 1st Street
 Cuisine: French Bistro

Looking Ahead...

Late December

Blue Fin,
Set-up: Situated in the highly-anticipated W Times Square Hotel, this 400-seater will have a floating staircase connecting its two levels and a view of the Great White Way.
Cuisine: Seafood
Chef: Paul Sale (Icon at W Court Hotel)
Owner: Stephen "BR Guest" Hanson (Isabella's, Atlantic Grill)

January, 2002

Suba, 109 Ludlow St., 212-982-5714
Set-up: Subterreanean, multi-level grotto with moat, underwater lamps, and floor-to-ceiling glass-paneled doors. Designed by Andre Kikoski.
Chef: Stephane Bucholzer (L'Actuel)
Owners: Yann De Rochefort and Phillip Morgan

Fiamma, 206 Spring St., 212-653-0100
Set-up: Tri-level space in SoHo with exterior glass elevator and 130 seats
Cuisine: Italian
Chef: Michael White (formerly at the four-star Spiaggia in Chicago and chef di cucina at Ristorante San Domenico in Imola, Italy)
Owner: Stephen "BR Guest" Hanson (Blue Water Grill, Park Avalon, Ruby Foo's)

April, 2002

Blue Smoke, 116 East 27th St.
Set-up: Jazz joint with a built-in barbecue pit at former 27 Standard space.
Cuisine: Barbecue
Chef: Pitmaster Kenny Callaghan (Sous Chef, Union Square Cafe)
Owners: Danny Meyer (Gramercy Tavern, Union Square Cafe, Eleven Madison Park)


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Openings Archive

Week of December 3
Marseille, Fauchon
Week of November 26
Tuk Tuk
Week of November 19
Café Sabarsky, Market 17, Thias, Better Burger, Nipotino

and more ...

Photos: Patrik Rytikangas.
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