Osteria 57 is not new; it's been over on West 10th Street since 2017, tucked below street level with greenery climbing around the front door, like so many other charming little NYC spots in Manhattan. The door is down a few steps from the outdoor seating area, which features a table for two, encircled by plants. This makes it one of the most perfect outdoor seating areas in NYC—no tables crammed in there next to yours, no one eavesdropping, just your own tiny outdoor dining oasis on a quiet Village sidewalk.
But on a recent visit, my first, I sat inside, in that window seat...
(Courtesy of Osteria 57)
I had no idea that this spot had a pescatarian menu until recently, which drew me in. As a vegetarian of 27 years, and a pescatarian as of more recently, this was intriguing—I have never seen a restaurant cater to this specific lifestyle. Sure, you can get pasta and seafood at many restaurants, but when the focus is "Fish & Vegetarian," as stated on top of the menu here, you get a much more thoughtful dining experience. So often vegetarian dishes are an afterthought, and the seafood section equally unoriginal.
During a recent press dinner, the owner, Emanuele Nigro, explained his commitment to sustainability, a mission shared by Executive Chef Riccardo Orfino.
"I think that sometimes we all tend to forget that we have easy access to all the natural and healthy elements that earth gives us," Nigro said. "By offering customers the recipes we have on the menu, we can inspire them to follow the same philosophy and to realize that this type of food is not only good for your stomach, but for your soul and the environment as well." Studies have found that pescatarianism (just like vegetarianism) significantly shrinks your carbon footprint. And on top of that, Orfino and Nigro also highlighted their effort to be zero-waste (my meal was on the house, and as such, they asked that I let them know when I would want smaller portions, so as not to waste any).
The menu offers options ranging from vegetarian to vegan, gluten-free and pescatarian. "All products are fresh and chosen carefully," and created with Italian traditions and inspirations in mind. During my visit, I tried Salmon ($28), Heirloom Tomatoes and Watermelon ($16), and the Crispy Cauliflower (think lighter, healthier Bloomin' Onion):
Crispy Cauliflower (lightly fried, with smoked paprika sauce), $11. (Jen Carlson / Gothamist)
On special that night, a lightly battered and fried Squash Blossom stuffed with ricotta.
Burrata and Grilled Peaches (with pistachios, lemon dressing), $16. (Jen Carlson / Gothamist)
Nigro says he was "inspired by ancient philosophy, Ayurvedic teachings and shamanic knowledge," when creating this spot, and he envisioned an evolving concept, using ingredients of the season... so don't expect the below menu to stay the same forever. As it should be.
Note: You’ll only find beer & wine here, no whiskey—an upsetting exclusion. (Important update: I'm told they'll be adding a full bar very soon.)
For more pescatarian options around the city, check out this list, and leave your recommendations in the comments.
Osteria 57 is located at 57 W 10th St, near 6th Avenue. (212) 777-0057; osteria57.com