In yesterday's Community Board 2 report, restaurant obsessives learned that Michael White's new Soho restaurant with be like the "Italian version of a truck stop", serve handmade pastas and grilled meats, hold 94 seats and no outdoor cafe, and have no resys or tablecloths. Exciting, but not enough. Eater spoke with Chef yesterday to get a few more tidbits:
As far as construction goes, they'll start the renovation in about two weeks and are shooting for a May opening. White and his team have already been junking out old Italian restaurants abroad, scavenging Italian flea markets, and buying up parts of farmhouses from the 1700's to outfit the space.
He explains, "Trattoria, osteria, they have become colloquialisms for a brasserie. But it's different. It has to have a life of its own. You can't just build it. It's like a bar that's been on the Lower East Side for years—you can't make it, it's just there. So, we need to take the extra step to make it really authentic."
He continues, "A lot of times when new trattorias are being designed by famous designers, they look like Restoration Hardware. You know, there's a look, there's a feeling to it. Let's say you want an old copper pot that polenta was made in. It can't be bought and put up there. You have to get it at an Italian flea market." Bottom line: place is going to look cool.
White is still deciding between a few names but he's certain about the food. It will be simple, rustic, "very soulful," and very focused on Emilia Romagna, where White spent time cooking from 1993 - 2000. He'll have dishes like tortellini al brodo, and if multiple people at the table order the same dish, he'll bring out a giant bowl instead of separate portions.
And expansion? White confirms he's looking into opening yet another space—the fifth for him and partner Chris Cannon—but he's still trying to find one that's right: "Right now, you could do a restaurant deal a month. But we want to be very tactical. We don't want cannibalize what we do."