105 Christopher St., nr. Bleecker St.; 212-414-5774
When she left her executive position at Calvin Klein Jeans to open an Italian restaurant, Rita Sodi envisioned a comfortable, timeless place where she could serve her mother’s traditional Tuscan recipes. Partner Josh Dworkis, a Greenpoint-based artist and designer, corralled a team of craftspeople to build the leather-upholstered furniture, blown-glass sconces, and a ceiling made from salvaged yellow pine. Then Sodi enlisted chef Michael Genardini, late of Alto and L’Impero, to execute the small, weekly-changing menu, a compilation of classics like artichoke salad with shaved Parmigiano, lasagne, and salt-baked branzino. The gelati come from Capogiro in Philadelphia, and the four specialty Negroni cocktails are the handiwork of manager Håkan Westergren, a bartender whom Sodi lured away from Union Square Cafe. And this week, Genardini will be sharing the kitchen with a very special guest chef—Sodi’s mom, Elena, who’ll make sure everything’s up to snuff.
150B W. 10th St., nr. Waverly Pl.; 212-929-0250
This week, P*ong chef-owner Pichet Ong unveils Batch, a twelve-seat store next door devoted to sweets sold by the piece or by the batch. In contrast to the ultramodern P*ong, Batch evinces more of a boudoir aesthetic, with bright-red walls, crystal chandeliers, and bric-a-brac. The confections, too, depart from standard cupcake-parlor fare, with Asian-inspired yuzu-shortbread sandwiches, coconut-calamansi layer cake, Thai-tea tiramisu pudding, and durian ice cream. To come: savory sandwiches, box lunches, and delivery.
AND … Shawn Knight, whose top-notch southern-inspired cooking you might remember from the short-lived Natchez, has resurfaced at Duane Park, the newish successor to Duane Park Cafe (157 Duane St., nr. W. Broadway; 212-732-5555).