Named after Chef Justin Smillie's hometown in California, this new spot, brought to NYC in conjunction with Stephen Starr, focuses on Californian and Italian-ish eats in a wide-open-yet-comfortable setting designed by Roman and Williams. There're big booths, warm lighting, copper and wood touches throughout, a beautiful centerpiece bar up front, and an open kitchen in back.
Score a seat in one of these long, beautiful green booths.
And get to work on fresh, occasionally light, occasionally hearty dishes, including this somewhere-in-between guy: an 'nduja pizza with stracciatella and passata.
This burgery-looking patty is actually beef tartare with black trumpet mushrooms topped with puffed farro for some crunch; eat it after mixing it up with that beautiful egg yolk in soft focus back there.
Seafood? Yeah, they've got that, too, including the Upland Cioppino with clams, red shrimp, mussels, striped bass, Jonah crab, and -- interestingly -- gochujang; roasted Montauk striped bass with avocado, baby fennel, and Meyer lemon; or the herb-crusted octopus, which is basically a whole tentacle with black garlic, fingerling potatoes, and Taggiasca olives.
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Stephen Starr, a Philly-based restaurateur who entered the New York scene with splashy hits like Morimoto and Buddakan, is behind this airy brasserie on Park Avenue South that takes its name from the California town where chef Justin Smillie grew up. The menu, which rallies around the seasonal themes of California cuisine, features oval-shaped pizzas topped with vegetables and flavorful cheeses; pasta dishes ranging from the traditional cacio e pepe to the entirely unique chicken liver estrella; grilled, smoked, and roasted meat and seafood plates; and a fairly affordable wine list.