Cuisine: Venetian , Italian
Menu: View the Menu
Review By: Mari Gold
It's a pleasure to be able to eat--lunch, dinner or in-between--in a museum where the restaurant is attractive and the food way above the norm. Caffe (as in "coffee") Storico, (which means "historic" in Italian) inside the New York Historical Society, has walls lined with plate racks to showcase sets of china from the museum's extensive collection. The room is bright with cheery yellow banquets and large chandeliers; as evening comes, the lights are dimmed to good effect.
The new generation of museum café dining has arrived in New York. Caffe Storico is just one of many upscale cafés to have opened in the Big Apple’s museums, making dining well while soaking up culture a possibility.
Stephen Starr is the mastermind restaurateur behind this café, located inside the New-York Historical Society on Central Park West. The café is designed with Venetian influence to its menu, while New York’s history appropriately provides the design. Yellow hues make up the majority of the room, which is lined with high white shelves with Victorian woodwork. 19th century China adds a nice touch to the décor. The classic chandeliers and reflective surfaces that make up the dining room create a certain sheen, especially when the sun is shining.
Chef Jim Burke is at the helm of the menu, which features small, heftily priced portions of classic Italian food. The mains are small but rich, making the appetizers even smaller: cicchetti – a term for “small bites” in Italian, similar to tapas – include lightly fried langoustines with grapefruit and ricotta (16), burrata with fried artichokes (13) and luxurious whipped baccala (10).
The pasta is homemade in-house and is excellent. Ricotta cavatelli is served with lobster and black chanterelle mushrooms (22). Pappardelle with duck ragu, chocolate and orange (19) is rich and savory.
The entrées, by comparison, are rather tame. Osso buco (28) is good but comparable to offerings at other restaurants. Desserts can be hit or miss; the tiramisu (9) veers too far from the classic according to many, but the homemade salted chocolate gelato (8) has received rave reviews. A selection of artisanal Italian cheeses (20) is offered as a dessert option, served with truffle honey.
The lunchtime menu offers a selection of the dinner menu options, as well as two Panini (12 and 14) and a frittata of the day (12). Brunch adds some more egg selections to the mix, and a late afternoon menu offers a few choices at non-traditional dining hours, ensuring that no matter when you visit the museum, you have something delicious to eat. Dinner menu choices that are offered during the day do not benefit from a price cut.
The wine list, as one can imagine, is all Italian in origin, including red, white, rosé and sparkling options, by the bottle and by the glass. Draft beers are Italian as well, save one Brooklyn IPA. Cocktails include the traditional Bellini one would expect from a Venetian restaurant, though this version veers from traditional peach to include other more seasonally appropriate nectars.
- Emily Monaco
Neighborhood: West 70s
Reservations: Click for reservations
Chef: Jim Burke
Late Afternoon Menu
Friday and Saturday: 5pm–11pm
Payment: Amex Visa Mastercard Discover
Additional details: Classy, Brunch
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