On 19th St, the same paintings hang on the walls, reframed and relit in a soft glow. To customers of the old USC, there’s an uncanny effect -- this place is the same, yet different. (Likewise, Executive Chef Carmen Quagliata takes a similar same-but-different approach to the menu, with old standbys like ricotta gnocchi and Bibb salad, as well as new dishes that embody the restaurant's familiar, simple yet elegant, farm-to-table style.)
The 16th St spot was episodic, with one room leading to another. “It was more like you might find a residential space, room after room,” Rockwell says. His challenge was capturing that intimate feeling of dining in a small restaurant-within-a-restaurant in an almost opposite space. Where the old building was low-ceilinged and labyrinthine, the new one is tall, open, and airy.