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  • Restaurants
  • West Village
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
  1. Cecchi's
    Photograph: Courtesy of Joseph Kramm
  2. Cecchi's
    Photograph: Courtesy of Photograph: Courtesy of Joseph Kramm
  3. Cecchi's
    Photograph: Courtesy of Jorge Vargas
  4. Cecchi's
    Photograph: Courtesy of Jorge Vargas

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

A ‘this must be the place’ kind of spot with great cocktails, steak and fries.

It takes a lot of work to make things easy. A good maître d' will do it, and Michael Cecchi-Azzolina, who manned Minetta Tavern, Raoul’s and Le Coucou before publishing his tell-all, Your Table Is Ready: Tales of a New York City Maître D' in 2022, is among the industry’s best known. The famed steward opened Cecchi’s as “a modern take on the classic New York bar & grill” in the West Village this summer. And it's already righting some recent hospitality wrongs. 

My top three restaurant complaints of the past two years have been that everywhere’s too bright, all the "new" cocktails are needlessly complicated and I can’t get a reservation anywhere. Hyperbole aside, they’re all vexing trends, each eschewed by cleverly coordinated Cecchi’s. Here, the lighting’s nice, the cocktails skew simpler and, although it’s obviously popular, Cecchi’s is also accessible for its intended purpose of selling food and drinks. 

The appletini ($20) among the latter’s a hoot, the slight pomegranate zag in the cosmopolitan ($20) is pleasant rather than puzzling and the Manhattans and martinis ($17+) are masterclass. There have even recently been seats to sip them at the handsome bar, where an old cash register from cult favorite Café Loup, which operated in the neighborhood for 42 years, is once more in use. The adjacent Art Deco-style dining room is flush with a honeyed glow and splashed with murals depicting convivial party scenes. A warm, less decorative but somewhat more private, annex is a little farther back. 

‘This must be the place’ -type spots like Cecchi’s aren’t always best known for their food, but 105 West 13th Street is now worth visiting aside from its scene. To start, a switcheroo. Farther down the list of those semi-private gripes, I’ll always grouse about a plated shrimp cocktail, staged flatly, absent its veritable third ingredient, a fancy presentation glass. Cecchi’s crustaceans ($6 each; minimum 3) arrive on their sides, lazing on a bed of ice, lemon wedges hedged wherever. But they’re so good, plump, bright, saline and devoid the unintended fishiness I’ve often detected at esteemed seafood spots, I didn’t care about the incongruous lack of pageantry. The mushroom toast ($17) goes bigger, piled but still manageable, with the light flavor combination of petite fungi and sunchokes. The onion rings ($15) fall shorter, a little underdone inside with a coating that struggles to adhere.  

The steak and fries pairing ($42), joins the best of any restaurant in this genre, its flap cut zapped of any common chewiness and turned wonderfully tender. Those crisp golden potato sticks are great, too, and both are made extra decadent by an accompanying brown butter béarnaise that’s better than any in recent recollection. The pan-seared pork chop is also tops, thick, juicy and served with tasty fingerlings and well-tamed broccolini; its dainty florets as attentively finished as its heartier stems. Even at a steak and chop-situated spot, it’s a bit of a surprise to see a roasted cauliflower ($29) as the sole plant-based entrée years into the cliché that it’s the sole concession “for the vegetarians.” It’s an unexpected passé flash in a place that otherwise so successfully conjures a modern vintage ambiance, rather than one of a reaching throwback; so much so that this one dish almost tracks as intentional camp. 

In various ways and to disparate degrees, every restaurant in New York City wants to be the place to be. At Cecchi’s, the feeling is mutual. 


The Vibe: This must be the place. 

The Food: Wonderfully plump and crisp shrimp cocktail, Solid steaks, fabulous fries and chops served with expertly-tended vegetables. 

The Drinks: Perfect cocktails as though they’re shaken from the libation heavens, plus wine and beer. 

Cecchi’s is located at 105 West 13th Street. 

Amber Sutherland-Namako
Written by
Amber Sutherland-Namako


105 West 13th Street
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