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Restaurant Openings

Week of June 1, 2009: Civetta and Jo's.

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Civetta
98 Kenmare St., nr. Centre St. 212-274-9898
This is shaping up to be a big year for the Suhanoskys, husband-and-wife chefs Ron and Colleen, who first made their names with Sfoglia, their homey Italian restaurant with outposts on Nantucket and the Upper East Side. Tutto Sfoglia, an adjacent gourmet shop, opens this week at 135 East 92nd Street, and in September the couple’s first cookbook, Pasta Sfoglia, hits shelves. For their third restaurant, they’ve traveled downtown to team with the owners of Via Quadronno on Civetta, a bi-level Nolita spot equipped with vaulted ceilings, wine-barrel chandeliers, and a basement lounge. The Italian-inspired Mediterranean menu lists two dozen bigger-than-tapas antipasti, like stuffed panzarotti, deep-fried Scamorza, and grilled asparagus with sea urchin and preserved lemon. Pastas come in full and half portions, and entrées range from $26 to $35. Miraculously in these times and that neighborhood, there’s a full liquor license, plus house-made sodas, a mostly Italian wine list, and Colleen’s signature Sfoglia bread.


Jo’s
264 Elizabeth St., nr. Houston St. 212-966-9640
The owners of Jo’s, a new American bistro in the old Tasting Room space, have longtime neighborhood roots. Kevin Felker was beverage director at Barmarché; Jim Chu owns the bar White Rabbit (and before that, Idlewild); and Johnny Santiago opened the supper club Torch with Chu twelve years ago. Their new restaurant is named for Santiago’s mother, Josephine, and features a white marble bar up front and a dining room in the rear, where chef Ian Topper-Kapitan’s menu is tailored to varying appetites. Small plates include shrimp pierogi and foie gras French toast; pastas come in half or full-size portions; and mains are priced “à la carte” (unadorned) or “old school” (with accompaniments, like the salsify-and-asparagus salad below grilled trout, pictured). Refreshingly, though, all the cocktails are $9.


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