OPENING NIGHT: Monello
The "naughty little" spinoff of Bencotto opens today
Bencotto took Little Italy by storm. Amid traditional wicker-basket red sauceries, Bencotto was pure Milan—clean lines, modern, and pasta made daily with Northern Italian sauces. In short, it's a fantastic restaurant. Today, owners Valentina DiPietro, Guido Nistri and exec chef Fabrizio Cavallini open Monello next door. The name translates to "naughty little boy." I won't BS you here. Below is pure press release material (I sifted out the essential facts for you). The owners have politely issued a restraining order on me for a week or so. Opening a restaurant is chaos on scale with PIcasso's Guernica.
Still, you should go, be kind about minor hiccups, get a glimpse. This trio knows how to do restaurants.
THE FOOD: Milanese and Northern Italian street fare. Fresh-baked breads and pastries, polenta dishes, homemade spaghetti, flatbreads, pizza, roasted meats and seafood, gelato, sorbet and baked desserts all made in-house.
APERITIVO: The way Milanos do what we Yanks call happy hour. Every day from 4-7PM, buying a cocktail, beer or glass of wine will get the customer a gratis piattini (small bite), made differently each day.
HOUSEMADE VERMOUTH: In-house mixologist Jennifer Queen makes her own vermouth—a 27-ingredient juggernaut. "Holy **** it was good," says SD Mag ed-in-chief Erin Chambers-Smith. Bar also includes small-batch wines on tap.
DESIGN: Handled by Dianne Harsch of Studio Emphasis. They're calling it "trattoria chic," which sounds like a nifty marketing term for what I'm sure is nifty design. While Bencotto was concrete, white and black... Monello is warmer, more "residential." Yet still modern as you can see by the photo.
YELP: Already has one review! FIVE STARS! Bet that person wrote it in the bathroom prior to intermezzo. Fresh out of conquistadors, the world has replaced the esteem of discovery with "First Yelp Review!"
THE VIDEO: Yep, they made one. Fancy.