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Photograph: Courtesy of L’Americana

A star NYC bartender opens a new Italian restaurant in Gramercy tomorrow

Angel’s Share alum Takuma Watanabe is L’Americana’s co-owner.

Amber Sutherland-Namako
Written by
Amber Sutherland-Namako

New York City cocktail superfans have been following hospitality professional Takuma Watanabe from top bar to top bar for years. He gathered legions of fans at enduring favourite (and Time Out New York Best of the City award winner) Angel’s Share before opening Martiny’s in 2022, which also shot to popularity seemingly overnight. Watanabe returns with the Italian-influenced restaurant and bar, L’Americana, on Wednesday, February 21. It is his first Italian venture, reps say. 

“The entire concept is based on Watanabe’s love of Italian food and beverage, of course, with his own twist based on his Japanese roots and experience in NYC,” reads a press release. Executive chef Suchandrima Mukherjee (previously of Benoit and Boqueria) leads the kitchen, and Nicolò Amadori, who came up at his family’s restaurant in Italy before moving onto Bar Conte in Sydney, Australia, joins the bar team. 

The opening drink menu includes the eponymous L’Americana, with Campari, Professore vermouth, espresso, Angostura bitters and soda ($19), plus savory-sounding sips like the Tomitini, with Condesa gin, tomato water, cream cheese, basil, genepi and lemon ($20) and the Yuzu & Mustard Sour, with Roku gin, St-Germain, yuzu, mustard, agave and egg white ($20). 

Bruschetta with ricotta and mushrooms ($12), burrata with butternut squash and black truffle ($22) and cheese and charcuterie boards ($36) are listed among the antipasti options, with lasagna ($26), spaghetti ($22) and risotto with arugula and scallops ($27) in the primi piatti column. 

L’Americana’s brick-lined, low-ceilinged, ‘step-down’ space seats 60 inside, with room for 30 more outdoors. Open Monday-Saturday from 1pm-1am beginning February 21, is intended as a no-reservations destination at press time.

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