The opening of Piccola Cucina Estiatorio in SoHo on March 8th completes a trio of Sicilian-inspired restaurants from chef and restaurateur Philip Guardione, who's mining his childhood home's seafood bounty for the new restaurant on Thompson Street.
Siciliy's island status means inundation from seas on all sides, which is where much of the restaurant's ingredients will be sourced. A stationary Piaggio Ape—which visitors to Italy will recognize as the mini delivery trucks bearing down on them on the country's tinier streets—displays the fresh catch of the day and guests can opt for their selection grilled, fried or broiled.
Raw fish (Italy's now ubiquitous "crudos") include a passion fruit-marinated salmon tartare and a carpaccio made with yellowtail topped with orange and fennel. Simply prepared fish fritto like calamari and shrimp, plus grilled octopus, sardines and fish skewers, complete the seafood appetizers. Don't sleep on the arancino catanese (riceballs); Sicilians do these very well.
Pasta alla Norma—a very traditional Sicilain staple—gets transformed into a ravioli of eggplant with ricotta cheese and the kitchen's using plenty of other seafoods in the pastas, like a Spaghetti ai ricci di mari (sea urchins) and a Scialatielli vongole (clams) with cured fish roe and cherry tomatoes.
75 Thompson Street; piccolacucinagroup.com