Restaurants, Italian Chelsea
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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 (Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz)
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

Soppressata picante pizza at L'Amico

 (Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz)
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

Fusilli at L'Amico

 (Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz)
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

Scallops at L'Amico

 (Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz)
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz


 (Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz)
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz


While with the booming BLT empire, an expansive—and expensive—brasserie chain with holdings from New York to Hong Kong to Waikiki, Laurent Tourondel island-hopped between steak concepts, raw bars and haute-burger joints. But with L’Amico, his new, Italian-inflected American restaurant in the right wing of the Eventi Hotel lobby, the French-born chef taps into one of the most democratic yet dissentious of eats: pizza.

But before pitchfork-wielding purists come harping on the virtues of New York versus Neapolitan, it’s worth noting that Tourondel’s pies are neither. Pulled from one of two copper wood-burning ovens—the second is dedicated to firing tendrils of octopus and Calabrian-chili–smacked orata—the small-scale rounds sport the blister and blackening of much mightier pies. Between those charred puffs, crusts are paved, in order of most to least bewitching, with feisty sopressata picante, tangy tomato and Sicilian oregano for the menu’s sole red pie ($13); rugged crumbles of Esposito’s sausage with shishito peppers and fennel pollen ($14); and one-note white mushrooms with truffle paste and Taleggio ($15).

Like any French chef worth his toque, Tourondel clearly knows his way around a carbohydrate, and house-made pastas are further proof. Cranked through an extruder in the open kitchen, tender curls of pipe rigate are richened with veal-shoulder bolognese ($18), and a seasonal fusilli is gamely tossed with zesty sausage, bitter greens and pine nuts ($18).

It’s a shame that other entrées aren’t executed with such pluck. Though tinted rosy pink, roasted slips of spiced duck breast, placed over farro and chard ($29), were tough against tooth one recent night, and a sad mush of olive-oil potatoes don’t do black sea bass any favors ($26). Instead, think of L’Amico as BLT Pizza—and order accordingly.

By: Christina Izzo


Venue name: L’Amico
Address: 849 Sixth Ave
New York
Cross street: at 30th St
Opening hours: Daily 11:30am-2:30pm, 5:30-11pm
Transport: Subway: N, R to 28th St
Price: Average main course: $20. AmEx, Disc, MC, V
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Evelyn D

The food here was SOOOO good. The pasta, pizza, sides, everything was perfectly cooked. I also had an out of this world dessert here that had the richest chocolate mousse and berries. Kind of in an odd location in the heart of the fashion district but worth going to.