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Restaurant Openings & Buzz

Week of May 30, 2005: Gusto Ristorante e Bar Americano, Taku, Adrienne's Pizza Bar, 202, and IFC Center.

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Gusto Ristorante e Bar Americano  

Openings
Gusto Ristorante e Bar Americano
Jody Williams spent five years cooking in Italy before making her rustic, seasonally minded mark on New York menus at Il Buco, Convivium, and Giorgione. Her new restaurant, Gusto, a sleek, white-tiled, black-velvet-upholstered collaboration with Mangia owner Sasha Muniak, takes its aesthetic cues from Italian films of the fifties and sixties. The food, though, is pure Williams, including signature dishes like fried artichokes, lemon risotto, and the must-order salad of fava beans, escarole, mint, and pecorino. There will be bomboloni and Italian-accented eggs at brunch; piatti del giorno like lasagne at lunch; and hearty entrées like Sicilian meatballs and braised pork ribs for dinner. “Bar americano” is the Italian phrase for places serving American-style cocktails, and Gusto takes theirs seriously, from aperitifs to digestifs, with every Campari-spiked, fresh-juice-enhanced concoction in between.
60 Greenwich Ave., at Perry St.; 212-924-8000


Adam Shepard at Taku.  

Taku
It takes proper training and experience—and not just with boiling noodles—to open a noodle shop these days. First Craft veteran David Chang reinterpreted ramen at Momofuku. Now, at Taku, the latest addition to the Smith Street feeding frenzy, chef Adam Shepard channels his past experience at BondSt, Union Pacific, and the French Laundry into a beyond-ramen menu of Japanese-inspired snacks, appetizers, and entrées like yuzu chicken and kelp-cured black cod. The design, too, comes with a pedigree—it’s by the same folks responsible for Jewel Bako.
116 Smith St., nr. Pacific St., Boerum Hill, Brooklyn; 718-488-6269


Grandma pizza at Adrienne's.  

Adrienne’s Pizza Bar
Square must be the new round judging by Adrienne’s, a stylish joint venture from father-and-son restaurateurs Harry and Peter Poulakakos (Bayard’s, Financier Patisserie, Ulysses) and Nick Angelis of Nick’s Pizza fame. Although his superb signature round pie is on the menu, the big news is that Angelis has delved into the rarefied world of thin-crust square, or “grandma”-style pizza. Inspired by Brooklyn’s Di Fara and its thin-crust Sicilian pie as well as the trend-setting grandma version at King Umberto’s on Long Island, he’s crafted a pizza that—dare we say it?—could surpass them both. It’s wonderfully crisp, exquisitely balanced, and topped with a winning combo of oven-cooked chopped tomatoes, fior di latte, mozzarella, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and pecorino. Antipasti, salads, and baked pastas round out the menu, and, in an even greater departure for this former whole-pie-only guy, he’s serving slices at lunch.
54 Stone St., nr. Hanover Sq. 212-248-3838

And...
There are those who live to shop and those who live to eat, and Nicole Farhi cannily caters to both. Her new 202 at Chelsea Market, a branch of the London original, will house a cozy café serving brunch, lunch, and dinner amid Farhi’s elegant housewares and clothing. Chef Annie Wayte, who supervises the culinary side of Farhi’s transatlantic empire, specializes in English-accented comfort fare and superlative salads (75 Ninth Ave., at 16th St.; 646-638-0115).

Movie theaters aren’t known as temples of gastronomy, but that may change when the IFC Center opens in Greenwich Village. Gerry Hayden, late of Aureole, and his pastry-virtuoso wife, Claudia Fleming, are rumored to be collaborating with Great Performances on the in-house-restaurant menu.


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