F at Lexington Ave.-63rd St.; N, Q, R at Lexington Ave.-59th St.
This venue is closed.
The proprietors, who also operate the popular ‘Cesca on the West Side, have redone the sepulchral room in cozy, neighborly tones of brown wood and beige, and they’ve installed two long bars, one down below and the other on street level, where you can sip your glass of Barolo in the glow of not one but two flat-screen TVs. Kevin Garcia, who oversees the kitchen at ‘Cesca, has also thrown everything he can think of onto the restaurant’s bewilderingly large menu, including ten kinds of salumi, eight grilled pizzas (try the soppressata with red peppers), three chopped tartares, seven salads, five varieties of pressed panini, fourteen Italian cheeses, eight pastas, and more small-plate carpaccios, tramezzini, and antipasti than I bothered to count. Given this scattershot approach, some dishes are bound to hit and a few to miss. I liked the very fresh crudo, most of the pastas, and the fat Parmesan fritters specked with nuggets of prosciutto. I didn’t like the pork panini, which was stick-dry, or the strange, unwieldy gnocchi, which were sliced in discs, like sausages from North Carolina, and drenched in a weirdly sweet, nutty ragù. The desserts aren’t memorable, but they’re not horrible, either. If you don’t mind subterranean dining and are looking for a decent meal in that great gastronomic wasteland above Bloomingdale’s, you could do an awful lot worse.Note
The restaurant has an excellent and generally well-priced 500-bottle wine cellar.