This was a fairly quiet month, but after a long wait, it finally appears that some tenants are coming to the old St. Vincent’s site on 7th Avenue. A number of long-awaited openings have materialized this month, and a new pizza place has replaced a short-lived pizza place in the Meatpacking District.
Pisellino—52 Grove at 7th Avenue South. Jody Williams and Rita Sodi already run a number of popular restaurants in Greenwich Village. Buvette, the tiny French spot which looks like it has been transported from Paris, and the well-respected Tuscan I Sodi are individually owned by Jody Williams and Rita Sodi, respectively. Around four years ago they opened a joint venture, Via Carota, a delicious and fun Italian restaurant which was recently recognized at the James Beard Foundation Awards with the highly-coveted “Best Chef – New York City” award. Now the pair have opened a small all-day café/bar called Pisellino at the corner of Grove Street and 7th Avenue South where Mercadito Grove existed for many years, and after, briefly, fast-casual Mediterranean spot Mirage Kitchen. Williams and Sodi have said that Pisellino was built to resemble an Italian train station – and the wood and metal banquettes certainly are reminiscent of that. I have fond memories of having an espresso and a mozzarella and prosciutto sandwich in the Rome train station after a (much delayed) overnight flight, and I remember being surprised at having such excellent fare at a train station. I look forward to similar meals at Pisellino, starting with coffee and pastries in the morning, then moving on to sandwiches at noon, and cocktails and cicchetti (Venetian tapas) in the evening. As if all these successes were not enough, Williams and Sodi have also recently signed a lease for a restaurant at 50 Commerce Street which housed Harold Moore’s (now at Bistro Pierre Lapin) popular restaurant Commerce which closed in 2015, and was replaced by FIFTY, an American restaurant with South American accents run by the building’s landlord. This time around, the restaurant will feature, according to Williams, “heirloom American cuisine.”
Fabrique—348 West 14th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues. This Swedish bakery is the first American outpost of a successful chain of bakeries in Sweden and London. I was excited for the opening, as I love kardemummabullar or cardamom buns, which I’ve previously sampled at various locations of Swedish Coffee Bar Fika. The laminated dough was perfect, but I felt that there was a little too much cardamom (and I like cardamom)—however, one of the WestView contributors who travels often to Sweden was delighted with them and said that that is how the Swedes like them. Perhaps next time I will try the kanelbullar or cinnamon buns. I also thought the pastries, including the various croissants, were a bit expensive at $5 each. Fabrique is well-known for its sourdough bread of which there are many artisanal-looking varieties in the store.
Frevo—48 West 8th Street between 6th Avenue and Macdougal Street. From the street, the restaurant does not look like a restaurant, but rather, a very small art gallery. But on the back wall of the gallery is a discreet door leading to the restaurant. The restaurant itself has 24 seats at a counter which overlooks the food preparation. The restaurant serves a five course tasting menu for $124, with an optional $78 wine pairing. The chefs/owners hail from Brazil and Portugal, but trained in France where they assembled an impressive resume including stints at Guy Savoy and Alain Ducasse at the Hotel Plaza Athénée in Paris. This fine-dining venue is a change from the previous tenant which was Il Bambino, a casual panini spot.
Gran Gelato (335 Bleecker Street between Christopher and 10th Streets) has opened just in time for the warmer weather. It is an authentic Gelateria, owned by two Italians who hail from the Naples area. One of my favorite gelato flavors, Nutella, is hard to find in the US, but the creamy Nociotella, a hazelnut base with fudgy chocolate streaks is a fine alternative. The staff is extremely friendly and happy to oblige with samples. Resca (44 9th Avenue at 14th Street) is a Pizza/Italian restaurant that took over the space of short-lived BLKSQ Pizzeria and Bar. Some Yelpers complained of disorganized service when the restaurant had just opened, but others enjoyed the pizzas and salads. At press time the restaurant did not yet have a liquor license. I was excited to see that Kopi2 was opening on 14th Street, and assumed that like the original, Kopi Kopi on West 3rd Street, it would serve a small menu of Indonesian food. However, this location serves only coffee, pastries, and a few non-Indonesian selections like avocado toast. All the coffee, however, does come from Indonesia. Sassy (28 7th Avenue South) is an event space that specializes in events for 15-75 guests. The location was a truck parts store in the 1940’s, and more recently was an Icelandic fish and chips shop and a vegan café.
We heard from a number of readers that Günter Seeger (641 Hudson Street between Gansevoort and Horatio Streets) had closed. The restaurant opened in 2016, and in 2017, Andrew Buemi, one of our contributors wrote a review of the restaurant as part of an article entitled “Hudson Street Restaurant Row” which in the end was never published. The introduction stated: “the food scene on the street is once again thriving.” The review went on to say: “The eponymous, sumptuously austere Michelin-starred eatery of Mr. Seeger (who made his name in Atlanta, circa 1985, as head chef of the Ritz Carlton Buckhead’s Dining Room) could best be described as surreal. The almost uncomfortably silent dining room is replete with very expensive-looking modern European furniture, a display case of delicate German glassware, and stiff but well-meaning wait staff more reminiscent of financiers from a heavily guarded Swiss bank. Earlier this fall, the restaurant began offering a $98, four-course tasting menu after a lukewarm reception to its initial sole offering of a $148, ten-course menu (you can also opt for the $185, ten-course Chef’s Table option, where you’ll be seated right next to the open kitchen, with Seeger himself likely to pop out and chat and take a “selfie” with you). On a recent evening, I was both underwhelmed and in awe of Mr. Seeger: a steamed egg with bottarga shavings; a morsel of chilled, raw seabass; a single spear of thick white asparagus; grilled squab with leeks and dates; an airy, custardy Paris-Brest for dessert; generous hunks of brioche offered throughout the meal. While the food is ambitious and artful, I could think of many other ways to spend $98 on exquisite food in this City.” More recently, the prices had gone up to $125 for four courses, $168 for 8 courses and $198 for the 10-12 course chef’s table tasting menu. Sadly, since the article was written, the food scene on that stretch of Hudson has become decidedly less thriving with the closure of Bespoke Kitchen, Tavo and more recently, Sherry B. Dessert Studio. Paris Baguette (44 West 14th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues) has closed after only a couple of months. This is particularly odd given that the Korean chain has plans to expand with at least five more stores opening soon in the city.
The Lavaux, 630 Hudson Street (between Jane and Horatio Streets) has applied for a liquor license, and according to the documents submitted to Community Board 2, it will operate as a Swiss wine and fondue bar. According to the New York Times, the team owns vineyards in Switzerland (Lavaux is the name of a Swiss wine region). The space previously housed a location of Beasty Feast. Nordstrom Local will open a location on 7th near 12th Street (presumably in one of the storefronts of the Rudin Greenwich Lane condos that replaced St. Vincent’s hospital). There will be no merchandise in the store, but customers will be able to pick up online orders and return items. And coming to the storefront at the corner of 12th Street and 7th Avenue is Small Door Veterinary, a start-up that promises to reimagine “the veterinary experience to deliver a new standard in pet health care.” Indications are that it will operate on a membership model.
The fast-food Chinese restaurant Wok to Walk (319 6th Avenue between West 4th and Carmine Streets) is sporting a sign in the window which says “Sorry, We’re Closed. UNDER CONSTRUCTION.” Rosemary’s Pizza (1 Perry Street at Greenwich Avenue) has reimagined itself as Roey’s, an all-day dining venue. While pizzas are still available, there are many other items on the menu including some delicious breakfast options such as Cacio e Pepe Egg Sandwich, which, with the addition of bacon, is basically a bacon, egg and cheese with Pecorino cheese. There is also a take-out coffee bar with pastries from Lower East Side French bakery Ceci Cela. Spacious, the co-working space provider has opened a location at 175 West 10th Street at 7th Avenue South. They had taken over the Barworks location at 7th Avenue South and Morton Street after the Barworks scam was exposed, but now that location has closed.
Photos by Darielle Smolian.