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Restaurant Openings

Week of March 2, 2009: Farinella and White Slab Palace.


Farinella's four-foot margherita.  

90 Worth St., nr. Broadway; 212-608-3222
Naples is known for its pizzaioli; less so for its hip-hop artists. Alberto Polo Cretara happens to be both, although the rapper M.C. actually got his pizza training in Rome, at the legendary Il Forno. “My teachers were very severe,” Cretara says. “They really cared.” And so does he, about the integrity of the four-foot-long pies he’s baking in a Tagliavini triple-decker electric oven at Farinella, the Italian bakery he opens this week. Roman style in shape and substance, Cretara’s pizzas are traditionally topped and sold by the slice; the same dough is used for sandwiches like broccoli rabe and smoked mozzarella, or stracchino with walnuts and radicchio. Intended to be a fast and affordable lunchtime beacon in the Civic Center wilderness, Farinella will also serve frittatas, a baked special and soup of the day, and Italian-accented breakfast items, plus packaged bread products like grissini and freselle.

White Slab Palace
77 Delancey St., at Allen St.; 212-334-0913
Ten years ago, Swedish photographer turned restaurateur Annika Sundvik converted a onetime Chinatown barbershop into Good World Bar and Grill, a low-key destination for Scandinavian-inspired food and drink. Later this week, she and husband John Lavelle unveil their next venture, White Slab Palace, opening first for drinks and by March 10, if all goes well, for lunch and dinner. Good World fans will recognize the sparse industrial décor, centered here on a long granite bar backed with mantelpieces salvaged from a Masonic temple in Yonkers. There are floor-to-ceiling freezers for aquavit and small-brand booze, too, and an inventive cocktail program utilizing housemade infusions and garnishes like Swedish anchovies and lavender biscotti. A raw bar will dispense shellfish platters, and the menu will offer such eclectic items as Västerbotten saganaki, licorice-gratinéed lobster, and the Good World burger. Look for open-face Scandinavian-style sandwiches at lunch, and, quite possibly, frozen meatballs to go.


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