I am a huge Mario Batali fan and I was very excited to try his new venture with his partner Joe Bastianich, La Sirena, a massive restaurant in the Maritime Hotel in Chelsea/Meatpacking District. It was only 2 weeks old when I went and I am happy to report we have a winner here. Things ran smoothly and the food was beyond delicious.

The project was a huge undertaking, it took quite a while to open, delays and so on only heightened the anticipation for the opening. The design is a complete renovation from La Bottega, the last restaurant in the space. It holds 300 people and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.

There are two dining rooms connected by a large bar in the middle. Elegant and bright, it’s the defination of a modern day trattoria. The gorgous mosaic tiled floor matched the equally exquisite Richard Ginori dishes.

There is an outdoor area in the works and will be fantastic once the weather gets warmer.

I loved the menu, there were so many options of things I would have loved to try. I really think the menu would appeal to many people. It’s divided into antipasti, salads, primo, secondi and nightly specials.

We shared the fluke crudo which was very good, the grilled calamari with broccoli and crushed fava beans. This may possibly be the most tender calamari I have ever tasted. The vongole dish was lightly breaded and quickly baked with Amalfi style lemon and parsley. The misticanza was a vegetable crudo in an avocado vinaigrette with cheese. It was also an awesome starter.

I think I may have had the best pasta of the year there (sorry Momofuku Nishi, you canceled my reservation and I did not get to try your pasta yet). It was a leek and mascarpone stuffed panzotti swimming in the most delicious brown butter sauce, with fresh Umbrian black truffles – fattening? Yes. Did I care? No! Not when it’s a dish this dreamy and transporting.

For dessert we sampled the torta della nonna. It was a classic grandmother-style pine nut tart, with cider raisins, red wine and served with a caramel olive gelato.

The prices were on the high side, but I am not complaining as I was a happy, happy customer.

There has been lots of buzz about this mighty duo, and for good reason. They are already packing them in here – I can’t wait to return.

Highly Recommended.

Happy dining,
Shanea

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