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Restaurant Openings

Week of April 7, 2008: Ago Ristorante and Greenwich Grill.


Ago Ristorante
377 Greenwich St., at N. Moore St.; 212-925-3797
Ten years ago, Robert De Niro teamed up with the Weinstein brothers (Harvey and Bob), the Scott brothers (Tony and Ridley), and a host of other film-industry machers to back Agostino Sciandri in his West Hollywood restaurant, Ago (pronounced AH-go, not a-GO). Later this week, De Niro unveils the New York outpost, situated, like the South Beach and Vegas spinoffs that preceded it, inside a hotel—the Greenwich, De Niro’s own eight-floor, 88-room joint venture with the hoteliers behind the Mercer and Chambers. The most striking features of the wood-beamed, terra-cotta-tiled design are the stone fireplace and the ceiling installation of an alleged 90,000 wine-bottle corks, and the menu features Sciandri’s signature pizzas and bistecca alla fiorentina, both cooked in the wood-burning oven. Pastas are a given. “Spaghetti with clams is definitely one of De Niro’s favorites,” Sciandri once told Food & Wine, “but I’ve never seen him finish a whole plate. He likes to pick.”

Greenwich Grill
428 Greenwich St., nr. Laight St.; 212-274-0428
The Japanese restaurant-and-hotel corporation Plan Do See makes American inroads this week with its first New York restaurant, Greenwich Grill, opening April 4 in Tribeca. Make that first and second New York restaurants: While Greenwich Grill proper inhabits the first floor, Sushi Azabu, a bamboo-ceilinged, rice-paper-walled sushi bar, is located in the basement. In Japan, the Greenwich Grill concept goes by the name Pacific Grill; both showcase the company’s signature Japanese-accented compendium of Italian, French, and Californian cuisines, epitomized in dishes like Zuwai-crab-and-bottarga spaghettini, Niman Ranch pork spare ribs with sesame-ginger rice, and mont blanc for dessert, served with matcha instead of espresso. The brunch menu offers not only a burger but Japanese curry with rice. As for where the California influence comes from: The owner’s a big fan of Chez Panisse.


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