Esca, New York City
Executive Chef Dave Pasternack and restaurateur Victor Rallo opened Esca, a contemporary Italian trattoria soaked in New England seafood tradition, earlier this month to much anticipation. Open for dinner and Sunday brunch, the 124-seat venue includes an outdoor patio, a cozy bar and a farmhouse vibe throughout. Wine, including cult labels from Rallo’s private stash, is shown off in a floor-to-ceiling glass case.
Menu at Esca
Pasternack’s Mediterranean-style menu is coming in fresh with locally sourced crudo in rotating options, handmade pastas, cheese, charcuterie sliced on a vintage slicer and a main-course menu with specialty pasta paired with fish encouraging guests to share and order “per la tavolo.” Macaroni alla chitarra features hand-cut guitar spaghetti, sea urchin and crab meat. Cocktails are designed to pair with the menu, as in the razor clam martini and the Il Pescatore with Gran Agave tequila.
Fia, Santa Monica, Calif.
Chef Brendan Collins’ collaboration with hospitality veteran Michael Greco takes its name from Fiacre, patron saint of gardens, and the lush, 300-seat outdoor space by M. Winter Design makes the connection obvious with ferns, palms, and flowers galore. The culinary inspiration is equal parts Amalfi Coast and West Coast, with refined-yet-rustic dishes like this seven-day beef shank served with pomegranate molasses, pickled “cukes,” yogurt and piadina bread.
Menu at Fia
These Jonah crab bomboloni are an example of classic Italian format meeting wild West Coast shoreline.
Drinks at Fia
LA’s ‘Godfather of Cocktails’ Vincenzo Marianella has created a colorful cocktail menu that includes classics with a twist like the Campanula Sour, the Manhatters and the West L.A. Spritz. Tara John (Wally’s Beverly Hills) is curating the wine list.
Butterfly Burger, Sedona, Ariz.
Lisa Dahl of Dahl Restaurant Group this month is opening a new burger concept — sorry, make that couture burger lounge — in Sedona, where she’s helped turn the mystical town into a culinary destination with her other concepts. But this one is close to her heart, since, as Dahl said, “a great burger is like a metaphor of culinary perfection. Every single layer matters.”
Menu at Butterfly Burger
The menu begins with the Nothing Burger, billed as a good old-fashioned cheeseburger. From there, Butterfly Burger takes flight with burgers like Mi Quiero Vaquero with Manchego cheese, grilled Serrano ham, pico, peppers and smoky pimento aioli. There’s the Italian Stallion burger with burrata, the gorgonzola-stuffed X-Tremo burger and selection of non-meat burgers, including a beet steak burger and a lentil-walnut sofrito burger.
TacoVision, New York City
Blue corn tortillas and signature salsas are the calling cards of TacoVision, a Midtown East concept from partners Brian Owens, Jason Steinthal and Chef Todd Mitgang, the team behind Crave Fishbar. TacoVision’s //3877-designed space is divided into a fast-casual downstairs and a full-service restaurant upstairs, accented with bright terrazzo flooring and brass pendant lights. The beverage program features over 150 agave-based spirits including tequila, mezcal and sotol in complex margaritas, some of which include blue corn masa and Mexican Coke.
Menu at TacoVision
Obviously, there’s a huge taco selection at TacoVision but it’s supplemented by dishes like oysters with cucumber, pineapple and chile; barramundi aguachile with tomatillo broth; golden beet tostada with macadamia nut salsa; plus, veggie bowls, green salads and even a rotisserie chicken.
Esotico Miami, Miami
Graspa Group’s newest concept, Esotico Miami, is tropical, tiki-themed and conceptualized by partner Daniele Dalla Pola (DDP), pictured, who’s considered to be one of the world’s best tropical mixologists. For Esotico, he’s created unique offerings like the Nu Mai Tai that includes a “very secret ingredient” and several types of rum, served in a souvenir glass that’s — natch —available for purchase, as in all great tiki bars.
Menu at Esotico
Executive Chef Roberto Dubois, aka Chef Koa, is at the helm with a menu of “tropical chow” items like a smoky octopus hotdog with mezcal-cucumber relish, black truffle dumplings with pork and shrimp and Floridian fish cake, Kimoko, served with spicy mango chutney.
Winslow’s Table, St. Louis, Mo.
Michael and Tara Gallina, owners of acclaimed Vicia, have purchased and are currently revamping Winslow’s Home, keeping the farm-to-table/neighborhood feel to the institution while bringing their own flavors and changing the name to Winslow’s Table. “Winslow’s Home has always been a place we loved visiting with our families and we are honored to make it our new home,” Michael said. Set to open later this fall, with a private event space and service for breakfast, lunch and dinner with family-style Famer’s Feasts and kid-friendly options, featuring an expanded grab-and-go case with packaged dinners, pesto, soups, grain salads and to-go wine and craft beers.
Later this fall, owners Peter Woolsey, Brad Histand and Chef Kenneth Bush will debut Gabi, an Art Deco-inspired all-day French café on Philly’s North Broad Street corridor. Woolsey describes Gabi as “a welcoming, unfussy spot serving the iconic dishes that made French cuisine an enduring international favorite.” The menu will read like a “greatest hits” of French food: French onion soup, Nicoise salad, croque madame, steak frites, duck confit and crème brulée. The cocktail menu will feature — what else — the French 75. Most items are priced at less than $20.
Gelati & Peccati, San Diego
Luca Zamboni became a pizza master at Rome’s famed Pizzarium Bonci, moved to San Diego and joined forces with restaurateur Matteo Cattaneo of Buona Forcetta restaurants. Now, the duo, along with gelati-maker Giovanni Bonomi, are set to open Gelati & Peccati, where they’ll serve more than 40 styles of pizza al taglio with 18 flavors of housemade gelato. The shop is small, encouraging customers to choose their square slice and wander the North Park area.