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Restaurant Openings & Buzz

Week of Nov. 15, 2004: n. 6, Porcupine, Onju, Jones, The Modern, and Peperoncino.

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A bright light beckons at n.6.  

n. 6
As a member of the entrenched Bamonte’s clan, Nicole Giannone bridges two culinary epochs in Williamsburg—its red-sauce past, as epitomized by her family’s 104-year-old eponymous restaurant, and its wine-bar present. Recently, she, her husband Peter Giannone, and her uncle Bill Haenlen converted Bamonte’s bakery offshoot into n.6, a cozy enoteca serving a familiar menu of panini and tramezzini made with ingredients from local purveyors like Napoli Bakery and Emily’s Pork Store. It’s the kind of simple, snacky food the Giannones like to eat when they go out—groundbreaking, no; satisfying (and affordable), yes. And the hipster-free hospitality is a refreshing change of pace. The owners have preserved the bakery’s original tile floor and vintage ceiling fans, and turned its butcher-block workstation into a bar, achieving an artfully aged patina that befuddles the old-timers who pop in looking for biscotti and discover bruschetta instead.
263 N. 6th St., at Havemeyer St., Williamsburg, Brooklyn
718-384-1311


Porcupine's suckling pig.  

Porcupine
After a brief incarnation as the culinarily diffuse Mix It, this Nolita spot has gained a new chef and new identity (though it’s kept its red banquettes, carved-wood bar, and unassailable bistro charm). Matt Weingarten, who’s cooked at Quilty’s and Tuscan, has concocted a seasonal American menu that still manages to tastefully mix it up with dishes like sweet lettuce soup, Meursault-braised beef cheeks with celery-root pudding, and leg-of-lamb sandwich with prune-hyssop butter.
20 Prince St., nr. Elizabeth St.
212-966-8886

AND . . . Onju Ha grew up in Milan and spent seven years in L.A., which might explain the unoppressively healthy slant of his new Italian restaurant, Onju. Ha tampers inventively with tradition, serving chanterelle ravioli with beet sauce and tofu cream, making gnocchi out of purple Peruvian potatoes, and featuring Fair Trade and organic ingredients (108 E. 4th St., nr. Second Ave.; 212-228-3880).

Jay Plumeri called his first restaurant Plumeri. He’s calling his second Jones, a reference to the unabashedly American focus of crowd-pleasing comfort food like Roquefort-onion burgers and Cobb salad (41 Greenwich Ave., nr. Charles St.; 212-255-3606).

When MoMA reopens this week, so do its cafés—this time, though, under the supervision of Danny Meyer and his seasoned team, who have installed an Italian rosticceria on the second floor, and a chocolate and dessert café on the fifth. The ground-floor fine-dining restaurant, The Modern, is open to museumgoers with a limited menu—lunch only for now (9 West 53rd St., nr. Fifth Ave.; 212-333-1220).

As everyone knows, the restaurant business isn’t easy. That’s why Nino Gagliardi named his new pizzeria Peperoncino. In his native Neapolitan dialect, the word for hot pepper also refers to the horn-shaped good-luck charm believed to ward off evil. “L’oro di Napoli,” the house pie, is strewn with edible gold leaves, and the rest of the menu covers familiar southern-Italian pasta and antipasto territory (72 Fifth Ave., at St. Marks Ave., Park Slope, Brooklyn; 718-638-4760).


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