No matter how many hip new restaurants pop up in New York between our visits, I always try to save one meal for a visit to Trattoria Dell’Arte. This trip, we found ourselves there three times! It was only two blocks from our hotel and it was still as wonderful as I remembered. On our last night we popped in late and sat at the antipasti bar. It’s so much fun to pick and choose from the sumptuous platters of seafood, vegetables and cured meats. Our official trip favorites were the fried cauliflower, broccoli rabe, and the tomatoes and mozzerrella. If you find yourself there after the theatre, the pizzas are perfect … light, delicate and crispy. (Looking like the tourist that I was, I took these pictures with my phone!)
For me, there is another added sparkle, which is the fact that Trattoria Dell’Arte was designed by Milton Glaser, from whom I took a class at School of Visual Arts when I was a young illustrator. I am still inspired today by some of the lessons I learned in his amazing and intense class.
When you enter the restaurant, the space opens into a large, beautifully lit room – the kind that makes you glow even if you feel tired and pale. The classic space is filled with art and sculpture … all odes to the body. Monumental body parts, with a special affinity toward noses, surround midtown diners. Sometimes, my girls will say, “Can we go to the restaurant with the noses?” and we know exactly which restaurant they are requesting. I’m sure this is not what Milton had in mind when he created this space, but then again, perhaps he did, because, in a way, it’s just another form of branding. Apple = Macintosh, Nose = Trattoria Dell’Arte.
There are many other examples of anatomy throughout the restaurant … from lips to feet to bottos. In fact, I also have a picture of a pure white, 3-foot-tall bas-relief bosom hanging above one diner’s table, however I didn’t think I should necessarily feature it here on our family-rated blog. But, it was impressive!
Left: Cathy and Ellen discussing the busy day at Surtex and enjoying chicken paillard while sitting under a very large drawing of this splendid nose. Can you guess which famous Italian belongs to this nose? Well, I guess you will just have to go to Trattoria dell’Arte and take a look at your napkin ring.