Back in the day, going away for the summer and coming back hotter was a surefire way to get our attention. More recently, a rich plate of pasta does the trick.
Get a bit of both at Isola. The new Italian restaurant opens today in the old Imperial No. Nine space with Victor LaPlaca (former lead chef for Todd English Enterprises) calling the shots.
The bones are the same (soaring ceilings, greenhouse feel, chandeliers), but the vibe is decidedly more grown-up (ciao, baby blue patio furniture).
Start with taleggio focaccia with fig jam followed by shared crudo plates. We’re keen on the hamachi with salsa verde, avocado, and dainty fried shallots and balsamic-drizzled tuna atop watermelon.
Should you feel meaty, go for balls (a pork, beef, veal combo) or pizza generously topped with fennel sausage and herb ricotta. Sweet yellow corn agnolotti balances pleasantly with simple branzino and melon sorbetti for dessert.
Crush all you want.
Isola Trattoria & Crudo Bar, Mondrian Soho, 9 Crosby Street, between Grand and Howard Streets (212-389-0000 or isolasoho.com).
Photo: Jordan Blumberg / DailyCandy