The Citiblog

Chef Julian Medina Takes Diners on a trip to Rome at Amarena via the UES
February 9, 2024, 12:37.02 am ET


Photos: Marconi Gonzalez

Julian Medina and Louis Skibar, the pair behind Toloache and El Fish Marisqueria, have opened Amarena, their first Italian concept, chronicling Chef Medina’s travels to Italy, specifically Rome. Named after the classic Italian cherry, Amarena is located on Manhattan’s Upper East Side blending Italy’s rustic charm with opulent luxury. While the menu is centered on Rome, Medina's offers his own creative twists.


Photo: Co-Owner and Chef Julian Medina

"I’ve always had a deep appreciation for Italy's heritage, so opening this restaurant is such an exciting part of my career. Since visiting Italy again last year, I’ve spent countless hours perfecting my favorite dishes. I’ve been enthralled with bringing the region's rich culinary traditions to my neighborhood in NYC – the Upper East Side – so I’m thrilled to finally have the opportunity to do so,” said Medina.

Dinner begins with a variety of Suppli, fried rice balls originating similar to Arancini, with options su8ch as Orso (‘Nduja, burrata, mozzarella), and Polpo (bucatini, octopus, bone marrow, Calabrian chili, grana padano). Antipasti follows with dishes like Carciofi alla Giudea (baby crispy artichokes served with Calabrian chili-meyer lemon aioli); Polipo, grilled octopus with insalata Olivye and crispy mortadella, served alongside salsa verde; and Vongole al Forno (Baked Clams) with salsa verde, lardo, and spiced breadcrumbs.

Pizzas also make an appearance. The Tartufata is topped with truffle burrata, pecorino Toscano, parmigiano, and fresh black truffles. Soppressata Picante comes with peaches and Calabrian chili honey. Then there’s the Amarena with mortadella, whipped burrata-pistachio crema, gorgonzola dolce, and arugula. Pastas bring Capellini alla Nerano with zucchini, gold bar squash, zucchini blossom, and provolone; Carbonara Anatra with bucatini, duck guanciale, duck egg, and pecorino; and the Everyday Sunday Gravy with pappardelle, Brunello- and coffee- braised beef cheeks.

Among the entrees, Vitelo Alla Milanese arrives served with a poached egg, grana padano, and black truffle sauce while Aragosta offers a whole lobster served with agrodolce butter and ‘Nduja risotto.

Italy is embraced with signature cocktails like the Positano (Cesarini Sforza Trento Brut, Limoncello, Meyer lemon and thyme), Carleone (Great Jones Bourbon, Amaro Ciociaro, and Crème De Cacao), or Casa Julian (El Tesoro Blanco, Campari, Faccia Bruto, lemon juice, ginger syrup, and cucumber). For a sweet finish, or Dolci, there is Amarena cherry layered cake with coconut meringue, Torta Al Limone, and Panna Cotta Alle Fragole with yuzu-macerated strawberries and fragola ice cream.

Amarena was designed by Pablo Castellanos of Bruccolino Studios with the goal of transporting guests to coastal Italy. The first floor mirrors the quaint charm of coastal trattorias and countryside eateries, while the second floor embraces the opulent palaces found along the Amalfi Coast.

Amarena is located at 151 East 82nd St, New York, NY. For more information, visit amarenanyc.com



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