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The only room that matters right now
Inside the bar at Torrisi
RESTAURANTS: First Person
The bar is everything at the new Torrisi, an absolutely gorgeous full-length creation that’s the first thing you see when you walk into the cavernous space, tall mirrors stretching way up to the brick ceiling and delineating the drinks by type, such as the martini: DRY, DIRTY, PERFECT. Two floating islands stand against the open kitchen, around which gather diners waiting to be seated in the surprisingly compact dining room at the back of the restaurant.
On this recent visit, though, we were seated for dinner at one of the bar tables instead, the four-top directly underneath the chalkboard that has one of chef Rich Torrisi’s Instagram obsessions, reading: We are the music makers and the dreamers of dreams. “Is this meant to be ironic?” a dining companion asked. Assuredly not, probably.
Having dined in the center of that back dining room on earlier visits, it turns out dining in the bar area may be the move at Torrisi. The simple reason for this is the noise level in the dining room, with its lowered ceilings a conduit for pure din; a group of four of us struggled to hear even the person sitting next to us. In the bar, this wasn’t a problem, the murmur of a New York City night setting the vibe. The only misfire was letting us see the premium steaks coming off the grill while we’d waited for our table at an island, then being told a skirt steak was the only special steak available to bar patrons (albeit one served with chimichuri).
An LA food writer friend reached out to ask if Torrisi really is all that. I told her I agree with another friend who summed it up thusly: “It’s the only room that matters right now.” —Lockhart Steele
→ FOUND: Torrisi, 275 Mulberry St. at Prince St. (Nolita)