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It’s 10:30pm on a Saturday, and this place is downright pulsing. Your 9 o’clock dinner reservation is winding down as the high heels and short skirts migrate from the restaurant’s Italian marble bar to the main dining room, poised to pounce on your table. The in crowd doesn’t mess around.
This is Cecconi’s Dumbo, the public restaurant arm of Manhattan’s members-only Soho House (with locations in London, Barcelona and Miami). While prime waterfront digs in a 19th-century coffee warehouse may earn Cecconi’s some Brooklyn bona fides, there’s nothing hipster about it. The sprawling Venetian-industrial space is a luxe kaleidoscope of glowing glass chandeliers, black-and-white mosaic marble floors and peacock-blue chairs. Grab a stiff Negroni from one of the handsome barmen clad in custom white tux jackets, and drink in the terrace view of lower Manhattan stretching skyward above Jane’s carousel and the Brooklyn Bridge.
The see-and-be-seen spirit that pervades Cecconi’s extends partly to its steady but unexciting roster of Italian classics. Faithfully executed by executive chef Riccardo Bilotta (the Lambs Club, A Voce Columbus Circle), the menu is dotted with tableside flourishes that are all about optics. Take the tuna tartare ($17)—mixed theatrically as you watch—slammed with lemon and lost in a thicket of arugula, or “chilled” pea soup ($9) ladled from a shiny tureen but warmer than preferred and lacking the arresting freshness of peak-season peas. While your lemon-caper Dover sole ($42)—presented on a silver platter and filleted tableside—is a bit dry, at least you get props from the finance bro sitting next to you for ordering the most expensive thing on the menu.
Forego the spectacle, and you can eat perfectly well with in-house pastas like rich rigatoni bolognese ($18), deep and dusky with nero d’Avola, and petite cavatelli ($17) flush with doubly earthy lamb and artichoke ragù. Or take the cheesy route: ricotta ($8) whipped smooth with buttermilk, drizzled with finger-licking truffle honey and served in a mini Mauviel pot; or chewy wood-oven pizza ($20) strewn with fontina and thin, crispy-edged slices of porchetta.
It’s 10:32pm on a Saturday and you stroll tipsily to your Uber Pool, the slices of that pizza in tow. The high-heeled Manhattanite slides in next to you and spots your logo-stamped bag. “Oh, my God! You went to Cecconi’s? So good,” she exclaims approvingly. Welcome to the club.
BY: DANIEL MEYER
55 Water St
|Cross street:||between Dock and Main Sts|
|Price:||Average main course: $25|
|Opening hours:||Mon–Wed 11:30am–midnight; Thu, Fri 11:30am–1am; Sat 10:30am–1am; Sun 10:30am–midnight|
|Do you own this business?|