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More contenders for restaurant of the summer
Hello, Bar Vinazo and Roscioli NYC
RESTAURANTS • First Person
Summer arrives, officially, in New York City tomorrow at 10:57am. It’s a good moment to reflect further on an ongoing FOUND concern, namely: 2023’s restaurant of the summer.
The restaurant of the summer is a freshly opened place that captures the spirit of that particular season — not unlike a song of the summer. Ten years ago, in 2013, that restaurant was Charlie Bird. In the northwest corner of Soho, it brought a true lightness, helped largely by its west-facing windows and the low-slung buildings across Sixth Avenue which allow for the golden hour sun to pour in. It’s not a restaurant you only want to visit in summer, but it’s the season when it shines.
Last year’s restaurant of the summer, though, is a place I’m not sure I’d want to dine at outside of peak season: Laser Wolf (above). Opening in early May, the Williamsburg rooftop serving Michael Solomonov’s pita bread, salatim, and skewers became an impossible reservation overnight, though everyone somehow found their way in. My meal there in mid-July was my favorite of last summer, challenged only by the other top contender for last summer’s restaurant of the summer, Cafe Spaghetti in Carroll Gardens. (Any restaurant boasting a Vespa in its backyard is an immediate short-list for consideration.)
This summer’s Cafe Spaghetti might also be in Brooklyn. A FOUND subscriber emails: “Another contender for restaurant of the summer: Bar Vinazo in Park Slope. Incredible wine list and tinned fish and a beautiful backyard.” Joey Campanale (Fausto, Lalou) seldom misses, so: noted.
Manhattan bias will always push me back towards that island, though, and it may be that the restaurant of summer 2023 is emerging right around the corner from Charlie Bird. Later this week, previews begin at Roscioli NYC, Ariel Arce’s import of Rome’s most important restaurant of the past 20 years. (As I was planning a trip to Rome last year, one food writer friend I asked for advice started, “Well, besides Roscioli…”)
Rome’s Roscioli Salumeria con Cucina is a place where the walls are stocked with thousands of jars you want to pack away to carry home, and throughout it, a restaurant of sorts serving some of the best Italian cooking you’ve ever had. Arce says they’re planning to have a store element to Roscioli NYC along with multiple dining experiences, all of it replacing the ongoing party that was her underrated restaurant Niche Niche and its downstairs lounge, Special Club. It’s a divine setting on a perfect streetcorner. Eagerly, we await. –Lockhart Steele