Photo courtesy Morgans Hotel Group
Isola Trattoria and Crudo Bar—the attractive new restaurant offering at the Mondrian SoHo—is a casual spot with a boisterous atmosphere and a stylish bent. Chandeliers, candles and a massive bar set the scene in the 5,000-square-foot greenhouse space, and regional Italian specialties, as well as inventive crudo options, populate the menu.
Meant to evoke the Amalfi Coast and the Italian Riviera, the restaurant’s kitchen runs under the eye of Sicilian-born executive chef Victor LaPlaca. On our visit, agnolotti with sweet yellow corn and seared golden chanterelle mushrooms was bright and tasty, as was a baby beet salad with pistachio pesto and goat cheese. Tuna crudo with white balsamic, jalapeño, watermelon and pine nuts stood out among other choices like fluke with Meyer lemon, radish and Sicilian olive oil, and salmon with charred ramp gribiche and crispy skin. Other pastas include chitarra with roasted tomato, basil and Parmesan, and tagliolini with saffron, blue crab, spring peas and Calabrese peppers—but don’t overdo it before dessert: The creamy take on tartufo (brownies, hazelnut gelato, salted caramel cream and hot fudge) elicited envious glances from surrounding tables.
Wine and spirits expert Steve Olson constructed the beverage strategy. More than 100 wines by the bottle and 18 by the glass are available, and drinks like the Americano Negroni (Campari, Cinzano Rosso, Perrier) and the La Franconi (Tanqueray Ten, Aperol, St-Germain, prosecco) are as festive as the room. At 9 Crosby St.; 212-389-0000; isolasoho.com.