New York

Ci Siamo Is a Fiery Italian Newcomer from Hillary Sterling and Danny Meyer

A giant, wood-burning grill is the centerpiece of the new restaurant at Manhattan West.

Photo by Giada Paoloni
Photo by Giada Paoloni
Photo by Giada Paoloni

Hillary Sterling is no stranger to playing with fire. The chef’s car is stocked with a tiny Weber grill and a cast-iron skillet, so she’s always ready for an impromptu fireside meal, and she’s also cooked for a crowd over a raging flame on multiple occasions as part of a bonfire cooking series.

Sterling says she’s gotten “a little obsessed” with this method of cooking over the last 10 years. And that’s evident in the fact that open-flame cooking was even a part of her wedding day last year, where guests feasted on chicken roasted over a fire pit.

Photo by Giada Paoloni
Photo by Giada Paoloni
Photo by Giada Paoloni

So now at Ci Siamo-the latest addition to Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group that opened this week-Sterling is taking that passion to a multi-level, wood-fired grill situated at the center of the restaurant as the spot’s executive chef. There, she will turn out comforting Italian fare that tastes like the type of food she would cook at home or on the road with her small grill set-up, just dialed up several notches.

“I’m getting to take one of my favourite Sunday activities and bring it to work with me,” Sterling says of the style of cooking she’s doing at Ci Siamo.

Nearly everything on the dinner menu is cooked over fire-from marinated peppers that kiss the open flame for a quick char, to desserts topped with almonds that spend all day sitting on the top rack immersed in smoky flavour.

Photo by Giada Paoloni
Photo by Giada Paoloni
Photo by Giada Paoloni

Wood-fired main dishes like a whole trout stuffed with pine nuts, raisins, and mustard greens are complemented by pasta that shows off Sterling’s expertise in the cuisine from years at Vic’s and A Voce. Handmade pasta dishes include a simple taglioni with tomatoes and buffalo butter; rigatoni alla gricia made with guanciale sourced from La Salumina in upstate New York; and potato topini, a dish resembling mini gnocchi served with mint pesto and almonds.

The Ci Siamo space offers a cozy atmosphere complete with warm-wood accents, views of the roaring flames, and cushy leather banquettes and bar stools. It’s the type of laid-back place where you can opt for a multi-course meal in the dining room or swing by for a true Italian aperitivo hour. Alongside cocktails, the bar offers a menu of snacks exclusively available in that area including mortadella con pistachio; gnocco fritto with goat gouda; and a small pizza bianca with anchovies, salsa verde, and aioli.

Photo by Giada Paoloni
Photo by Giada Paoloni
Photo by Giada Paoloni

“We love the concept of going out to come home,” says Sterling. “So that’s what we are trying to create here. That kind of approachable and accessible, delicious, soulful food. We’re really trying to create a full dining experience, whether you’re just coming for a Negroni with some pistachios and mortadella or gnocco fritto or sitting down in the dining room for a full meal.”

The beverage program will be helmed by beverage director Robin Wright and bar manager Matt Chevez, who both cut their teeth at The Nomad Hotel‘s bar as well as other high-caliber spots like Daniel and the beloved bar at Llama Inn, respectively. Wright’s wine list spans most of Italy with by-the-glass pours and bottle options, while cocktails lean toward traditional aperitivos, with Negronis and spritzes taking center stage.

Photo by Giada Paoloni
Photo by Giada Paoloni
Photo by Giada Paoloni

Dessert and bread service are in the hands of pastry chef Claudia Fleming, who is making her return to Union Square Hospitality Group after baking at Gramercy Tavern almost 20 years ago. In addition to a lemon tart, chocolate amaro bomboloni, and chocolate budino with espresso zabaglione, the restaurant will offer housemade gelato in flavours like espresso stracciatella, hazelnut, and goat’s milk lemon to top off a meal.

The restaurant, which is the first Danny Meyer has opened in NYC in more than two years, is situated inside the newly unveiled¬†Manhattan West¬†development in Hudson Yards. The area also plays host to another USHG concept, Daily Provisions, which opened its fourth outpost in the space last month, and Zou Zou’s, a highly anticipated Mediterranean restaurant from the team behind favourites like Don Angie and Smith & Wollensky, is slated to open later this fall.

Ci Siamo is now open Tuesday through Saturday from 5 to 10 pm. Reservations can be made via Resy.

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Liz Provencher is an associate editor at Thrillist. You can follow her on Twitter and see what she eats on Instagram.

New York

Scavenge for Peeps Cookies and More Fun Treats in NYC This Easter

The best Easter desserts in NYC this spring include Easter Bunny Churros and Carrot Cake Macarons.

Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery

As spring makes its way through New York City, not only do we get to enjoy beautiful weather, stunning cherry blossoms, and cool activities priced at $Free.99, but it’s also the perfect time for some limited-edition desserts.

With Easter fast approaching, bakeries are filling their shops with tons of chocolate eggs, carrot cake-flavoured everything and all types of flavours that offer both nostalgia and innovation within the city’s dessert landscape. After you’ve picked up a cake from the city’s best new bakeries, from Easter Bunny Churros to Carrot Cake Macarons, here are 8 Easter desserts to try in NYC right now.

Photo courtesy of Magnolia Bakery
Photo courtesy of Magnolia Bakery
Photo courtesy of Magnolia Bakery

Magnolia Bakery

Throughout April
Various locations
There’s great news for devotees of Magnolia Bakery’s Classic Banana Pudding: For Easter, the spot is mixing up the iconic dessert’s vanilla pudding with some carrot cake. The Carrot Cake Pudding is filled with freshly grated carrots, coconuts, pineapples, raisins, and walnuts. And if both bananas and carrots aren’t your thing, they’ll be offering their Classic Vanilla Cupcakes in pastel colours with a Cadbury chocolate egg hidden inside.

Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery

Funny Face Bakery

Through Easter Sunday
NoHo and Seaport
Known for their celebrity face and meme-worthy decorated cookies, fans of Funny Face Bakery know that a new fun design is always just around the corner. For Easter, they’ve created the adorable Hoppy Easter decorated cookie that resembles a classic box of marshmallow Peeps. Along with that, they also have the return of their fan-favourite Caramel Pretzel Chip cookie flavour, plus a set of three mini-decorated cookies perfect for gifting.

The Doughnut Project

Friday, April 7 through Easter Sunday
West Village
With the ever-changing flavours at The Doughnut Project, it’s super easy to miss out on trying out a new debut. But this Easter weekend, there will be two new flavours available. One is of course, a carrot cake doughnut topped with a cream cheese glaze, and the other is known as the Doughnut Nest-a French cruller “nest” with a cream-filled doughnut hole “egg” in the centre.

Photo by Cole Saladino, courtesy of The Fragile Flour
Photo by Cole Saladino, courtesy of The Fragile Flour
Photo by Cole Saladino, courtesy of The Fragile Flour

The Fragile Flour

Wednesday, April 5 through Easter Sunday
East Village
For stellar vegan desserts this holiday, head to The Fragile Flour, a plant-based bakery and dessert wine bar. They’re known for going all out for each holiday with a variety of new pastry options that you can pair perfectly with a glass of wine. This Easter, they’ll have a whole dessert menu that’s both delicious and gorgeous for posting on IG. The menu includes Stuffed Carrot Cake Cookies, a Lemon Cake (whole or by the slice), some festive cupcakes, and specialty macarons.

Photo courtesy of Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate
Photo courtesy of Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate
Photo courtesy of Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate

Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate

Through mid April
Midtown
For a luxurious take on Easter chocolates, browse the selections available at Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate. You can even pick the Easter Signature Chef’s Selection for a special box curated by award-winning chefs. For something other than chocolate, choose between the Carrot Cake Macarons or the cake flavored Easter Marshmallow Trio, both of which are almost too cute to eat.

La Churreria

Throughout April
Nolita
This churro-centric spot is putting the cutest Easter spin on their crispy cinnamon churros by twisting them up into bunnies and bunny ears. At Churreria, choose from a Bunny Churro Lollipop topped with your choice of chocolate or dulce de leche and sprinkles, or the bunny ear churros in the Ube and Matcha ice cream sundae or the Ube Milkshake, both of which are made with ice cream from il laboratorio del gelato.

Photo by Briana Balducci
Photo by Briana Balducci
Photo by Briana Balducci

Lafayette

Throughout April
NoHo
You’ve surely seen this croissant tons of times while scrolling through IG or TikTok, whether it’s the Pain au Chocolat one or the latest of the month. Known as Supr√™mes, these filled croissants went viral and continue to live up to the hype each time a new flavour comes out. April’s flavour-sour cherry amaretto with a Luxardo custard and toasted almonds. While you’ll have to be super early and wait in line during one of their three drops of the day to get a taste, we promise you it’ll be worth it.

Photo courtesy of Levain
Photo courtesy of Levain
Photo courtesy of Levain

Levain

Seasonal
Various locations
We all know the iconic cookies from Levain-they’re gigantic, perfectly crispy and chewy, and well worth the long lines. For spring, the shop is launching a new flavour: Caramel Coconut Chocolate Chip. Filled with gooey caramel chips, fresh shredded coconut, and melty dark chocolate, it’s one you’ve got to try while it’s still around. To further celebrate the new season, all of Levain’s storefronts will be decked out in spring floral displays, serving as the perfect backdrop for pictures.

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Alaina Cintron is an Editorial Assistant at Thrillist. Her work can also be found in Westchester Magazine, Girls’ Life, and Spoon University. When she’s not at her desk typing away, you can find her exploring a local coffee shop or baking a new recipe.

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