Hot Town, summer in the City – no Manhattanite will deny that our blissfully brutal summer weather has officially landed. We were seeking respite from last week’s hazy, hot and humid trifecta when we stumbled upon the newly opened Segafredo Zanetti Espresso Café and decided that an early evening cocktail might be just the ticket to provide relief on several levels.
Just a few minutes after being quickly seated in the very welcoming retro-modern space, the enticing aromas of fine Northern Italian cuisine, and an extensive menu boasting a variety of comestibles from traditional Italian antipasto to Custom Meat & Cheese plates, Muscles, Burgers and Steaks had us thinking about ordering dinner.
A little official background on the brand: Segafredo Zanetti Espresso was founded by Massimo Zanetti (the number one private coffee roaster in the world!) and is a leading worldwide espresso chain with Italian credibility. Segafredo NYC (the café’s debut foray into the competitive NYC restaurant scene) offers classic hot espresso beverages as well as specialty drinks and cold espresso cocktails! Where else in NYC will espresso lovers find so many options, and also be able to enjoy an upscale dining experience, all in a “Space Age Bachelor Pad” setting? Answer: Nowhere else.
Our cocktails arrived as we continued to peruse the menu: I ordered a 6th Ave ($14) made with Pineapple Vodka, muddled pineapples, ginger ale, Limoncello, coriander and lemon juice. This chilled, sweet and tart yellow elixir was just as refreshing as it sounds. My dining companion chose one of Segafredo’s Italian classic cocktails called a Spritz ($12).
The Spritz is a mixture of Aperol (a bitter orange aperitif), Tiziano prosecco, club soda, olives & orange garnish. We were advised that Aperol has a bitter taste, but I would say that ‘bitter’ is not strong enough of a word in this case. If you enjoy the taste of straight Campari this might be the cocktail for you but it was a bit too much of an acquired taste for us.
To start, we ordered the Fried Artichoke appetizer ($8) of 4 quick-fried artichoke hearts, drizzled with lemon saffron aioli. This dish is must-try for any fan of artichokes or similar green veggies, and with no breadcrumb or batter coating, it’s as light as any fried dish can be, so you don’t have to feel too guilty.
Northern Italian means there is no pasta on this menu (save for a four-cheese Macaroni with Pancetta – $12, which we are sure is delicioso), but it is hardly missed. Choosing two entrees to share, we enjoyed the Chicken Milanese ($12), a pounded-thin, breaded and pan-fried chicken breast topped with arugula salad, ripe chopped tomatoes and crisp red onion. With the chicken being juicy and fork tender, and the breadcrumb coating being perfectly, lightly fried, this is a satisfying dish that arrives ala carte, so heartier appetites could always add a side of sautéed Spinach, Parmesan Truffle Fries or Basil Mash Potatoes (all $6 each).
We also shared the Bisteca ($24), a hangar steak accented by a balsamic drizzle and accompanied by Yukon Gold Potatoes and garlicky Broccoli Rabe. Mmmm.
The dessert menu is extensive, so we selected two specialties. Segafredo’s chef does Italian cheesecake ($11) in a decidedly modern way. The cake has a creamy texture rather than the dry/crumbly texture of traditional ricotta cheesecake, and it has no bottom crust. Instead, the plate is strewn with a dust of “caramel crumbles” that (owing to magic of molecular gastronomy) mixes on the tongue to create a moist, crumb crust-like texture. Adventurous!
We could not resist ordering the White Chocolate Bread Pudding ($10), a blend of brioche and croissants baked together with white chocolate, and served warm, topped with homemade vanilla gelato. Sweet!
Segafredo Zanetti NYC is an excellent addition to this centrally-located Village neighborhood: providing a venue for espresso lovers as well as offering a trendy but relaxed bar area, with a breakfast, lunch, dinner and an impressive weekend brunch menu that will cement the already recognized brand in NYC as one of the hottest cafés to see and be seen in. Service is friendly and accommodating as well!
Update: Please note that this restaurant has permanently closed
Segafredo Zanetti NYC is Located at 504 6th Avenue (Southeast corner of 13th Street) in Manhattan.