72 Madison Ave., nr. 28th St.; 212-725-4900
Not since the late Hudson River Club has a restaurant taken its inspiration as directly from the Hudson Valley as the new Olana, opening this week in the old Mad 28 space. (The similarity isn’t exactly coincidental: The owners’ uncle was the Hudson River Club’s managing partner.) Named for the landmarked estate of painter Frederic Edwin Church and decorated with artwork done in the Hudson River School style he helped popularize, Olana features an upscale American menu with a strong Italian influence courtesy of chef Al Di Meglio, late of Osteria del Circo. Here, he serves pastas like burnt-orange-and-goose ravioli in appetizer and entrée portions, plus dishes like pan-seared foie gras with panettone brûlé, Armagnac-and-blood-orange-poached flounder, and rustic sharable mains like whole turbot and a 38-ounce côte de boeuf.
33 W. 8th St., nr. Macdougal St.; 212-677-3833
Building an open kitchen on the very same spot where Jimi Hendrix reputedly plucked his guitar (perhaps with his teeth?) might have intimidated some restaurateurs. Not Akhtar Nawab and Noel Cruz, who met while working at Craftbar and whose restaurant Elettaria opens next week. The name comes from the Latin for green cardamom, and Nawab’s eclectic, seasonal menu gives that and other heady spices as much play as the proteins, fruits, and veggies. Pan-roasted sweetbreads, for example, share equal billing with pineapple and pink peppercorns; “saag paneer” gnocchi, with spinach and cloves. The 72-seat dining room is equipped with a barn-wood ceiling, wide-plank floors, and brick walls, and fancy cocktails will be served at the zinc bar. No word yet, though, on the playlist.