Mon-Sat, noon-2:15pm and 5pm-10:30pm; Sun, closed
6 at 51st St.; E, M at Lexington Ave.-53rd St.; E, M at Fifth Ave.-53rd St.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
It's easy to imagine the characters from Goodfellas lingering over lunch at this restaurant, amid the expensive yet slightly garish décor—table linens are starched to an alarming crispness here, sprays of faux flowers abound, and a three-dimensional ceramic mural looms from one wall. The phalanx of white-jacketed staff that escorts you to your table is the first sign that San Pietro takes pleasing its customers very seriously; another is the wine list, which is thick as a Manhattan phone book. Some 800 vintages are offered, most from southern Italian provinces of Campania, Puglia, and, of course, Sicily. But it's the food here—much of it using ingredients grown on chef Antonio Bruno's family farm back in Salerno—that could bring tears to a mafioso's eyes. Tiny, impossibly tender bay scallops are sautéed with shrimp and canellini in a chunky sauce of fresh tomato and basil; delicate ravioli are filled with a creamy concoction of porcini mushrooms and buffalo mozzarella. The signature branzino, baked in an aromatic crust of herbs and sea salt, is delectably flaky and moist, while a seared rack of veal, pounded paillard-thin and still on the bone, is dressed in a simple balsamic vinaigrette and served with fresh radicchio. If you haven't time for a two-hour feast, you can simply loll over tiramisu and cappucino at one of the umbrellaed outdoor tables, and imagine you're padrone (or padrona) of all you survey.Recommended Dishes
Herb- and salt-crusted branzino, $52; pan-seared rack of veal, $52