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In 2006, Philadelphia restaurateur Stephen Starr stormed New York with spin-offs of his hometown megahits Buddakan and Morimoto. But after that big breakout push, he turned his attention elsewhere for five years. Now he returns with his first New York original: a luxe Venetian snack bar set in the New-York Historical Society—a keystone of the museum's recent $65 million renovation. Starr turned to Philly, where he operates 20 venues, to staff the kitchen: James Beard nominee Jim Burke left his own restaurant James for the job. His menu will highlight cicchetti, Italy's answer to tapas, like meatballs, grilled cuttlefish and baccalà mantecato (a creamy salt cod spread native to Venice). Diners can nibble on these snacks at the Italian-marble bar, along with a glass from the 50-bottle, all-Italian wine list. Those looking for a full-fledged meal can settle into sunny yellow banquettes and choose from pastas and entrées, such as hand-rolled garganelli with cauliflower and bottarga, and a dry-aged T-bone steak with broccolini and patata al forno (potato casserole). The New-York Historical Society boosts the restaurant's cultural bona fides with artifacts from its collection (Staffordshire china, Chinese and European porcelain) displayed on white shelves in the 75-seat dining room.
New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West
|Cross street:||between 76th and 77th Sts|
|Transport:||Subway: B, C to 81st St–Museum of Natural History; B, C, 1, 2, 3 to 72nd St|
|Price:||Average main course: $23. AmEx, MC, V|
|Opening hours:||Mon–Thu, Sun 11am–10pm; Fri, Sat 11am–11pm|
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