Amid the drone of the midtown grind, awash with suits, ties, high heels and ambition, there is one city block that transports its visitors to a world of international delights and foreign fancy. Make a mad dash out from any one of the nearby office buildings, or veer off the main shopping strip along 5th and Madison Avenues, and head over to East 53rd Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues for a world of dining options. What you’ll find there, nestled alongside restaurants dishing up everything from Indian, Moroccan, Chinese, and Mexican is the newest member of this global foodie neighborhood – Radicchio Pasta and Risotto Co.
An import from Ridgewood, NJ, this new outpost of Radicchio (www.radicchiorestnj.com) from Sati Sharma and the Brick Lane Restaurant Group, embodies the same spirit of the original location with its comfort food approach to Italian food with a focus on simple, fresh ingredients elegantly prepared and a perfectly matched wine list. Occupying a smaller, more casual space than its spacious white tablecloth flagship locale, this cozy restaurant is the perfect spot to linger over a satisfying bowl of house made pasta, or drop in for a selection of the restaurant’s savory appetizers and a few glasses of wine.
Chef Daniel Montoya, whose culinary acumen has made Radicchio a North Jersey favorite, will oversee the menu at the new restaurant bringing 18 years of experience to Midtown Manhattan. Chef Montoya and his team take great care in preparing classic pasta and risotto options like their hearty Spaghetti Bolognese, Penne a la Vodka, and Porcini Risotto, mindful of maintaining the same comforting emotional experience these favorites tend to evoke. Those looking for a taste of something slightly outside the realm of the familiar will have plenty of options with a host of signature dishes featuring bold flavors and inventive twists like the Shrimp and Leek Risotto, Black Seafood Linguine (mussels, clams, scallops, shrimp, scallops, calamari, and lobster tail) and Arrabiata Risotto.
Located in a neighborhood brimming with office soldiers looking for something to shine a bright light on their fluorescent light-filled days, Radicchio Pasta & Risotto Co. offers a selection of $10 pasta dishes for lunch. Options like Seafood Spaghetti Puttanesca and Chicken Fettucine Alfredo, or a healthy Whole Wheat Penne Pesto (shrimp, asparagus, cherry tomato, and mushrooms) will make the trip outside the office more worthwhile than simply scarfing down a run-of-the-mill sandwich or salad from the corner deli. And while the restaurant is committed to offering healthy options like whole wheat pastas and vegetarian dishes, they give those with a penchant for something sweet a reason to indulge with the same decadent homemade desserts found in Ridgewood, including a rich Chocolate Lava Cake and a classic Tiramisu.
With a casual elegance, the 18-seat space is warm and welcoming, offering diners a convivial atmosphere in which to relax and enjoy Chef Montoya’s home-style Italian cuisine. The clean, bright flavors and rustic approach to the cuisine is echoed in the restaurant’s simple design, which features light wood tabletops and modest white dishes. And while you can watch the big game on a flat screen TV, Sati and his team made certain they were seamlessly integrating all the modern amenities diners have come to expect from midtown eateries while still maintaining a charming neighborhood ambience.