Stephen Starr Debuts Restaurant in Hudson Yards

Plus, chef Amy Brandwein opens a new spot in D.C., Ristorante Morini closes, and more

Stephen Starr Debuts Restaurant in Hudson Yards
Electric Lemon's chickpea pasta, with sungold tomatoes, blistered shishito peppers and basil (Corry Arnold)
Aug 15, 2019

Restaurateur Stephen Starr opened Electric Lemon this month on the 24th floor of the Equinox Hotel in New York's Hudson Yards. The restaurant is serving seasonal American cuisine with a focus on fresh, healthy and sustainably sourced dishes.

The Starr Restaurants group is no stranger to great wine lists, as it holds 13 Wine Spectator Restaurant Awards across the U.S. Electric Lemon has 160 wine selections organized by country and then by terroir, with headers like "Islands and Coasts," "Mountains and Valleys" and "The Garden." This is intended to create connections between geography and its effect on a wine's flavor.

"I love sharing little-known wines with people who have never drifted from their favorite style and showing them something new," said beverage manager Natascha Patterer. "Similarly, I appreciate having someone's favorite wine on the list so we can accommodate our guests with exactly what they're looking for."

The list focuses on organic, biodynamic and natural wine in an effort to mirror the cuisine, but also provides options for guests looking for more traditional wines. There's a heavy emphasis on French wine, including Burgundy, Bordeaux and the Loire Valley.—N.C.

A colorful salad with green and yellow zucchini, radishes, carrots and sunflower seeds
Corry Arnold
A salad with zucchini, radishes, carrots, sunflower seeds and a lemon vinaigrette
Black bass with poblano, salsa verde and fresh tortillas
Corry Arnold
Black bass with poblano peppers, salsa verde and fresh tortillas
Strip steak with black garlic, peppers and grains
Corry Arnold
44 Farms Prime New York strip steak with black garlic, Jimmy Nardello peppers and ancient grains

Chef Amy Brandwein of Centrolina in D.C. Opens New Spot

Amy Brandwein handling pizza
Courtesy of Piccolina
Chef Amy Brandwein is a force to be reckoned with in the Washington, D.C., dining scene.

Chef Amy Brandwein of Award of Excellence winner Centrolina in Washington, D.C., has opened Piccolina, an all-day café located steps away from its sister restaurant. It serves seasonal Italian cuisine with the help of a wood-fired oven imported from France, and offers all-day breakfast and an in-house bread program with 10 varieties of bread that rotate daily.

The wine selections are entirely from Italy. "The wines are chosen for their sustainable and thoughtful producing methods and we plan to update the selections as the flavors of the season change," said Brandwein.—N.C.

Altamarea's Ristorante Morini on the Upper East Side Closes

The modern, brightly lit interior of Ristorante Morini
Courtesy of Ristorante Morini
Ristorante Morini had become a local favorite among Upper East Siders.

Ristorante Morini in New York City will have its last day of service Aug. 16. The restaurant opened in 2013 and is part of the Altamarea Group, which includes fellow Best of Award of Excellence winners Marea and Vaucluse, and Grand Award winner Ai Fiori. According to an Altamarea representative, the building owners decided to repurpose the space, but the group does not have details on what will replace it.

The representative also shared that the restaurant may reopen if they find the right space. In the meantime, the group will use kitchen space in one of its other properties to keep Ristorante Morini's menu, which will be available for delivery "for the foreseeable future."

Ristorante Morini's 350-selection wine list is strongest in Italy (especially Tuscany and Piedmont) as well as France. The focus complements chef Cesar Guadarrama's refined Italian menu, anchored by antipasti and fresh pastas made in-house.—J.H.

Chef Wolfgang Puck Opens Latest Cut Location in D.C.

The Cut Above patio, with a view of the city
Cut Above hopes to be … a cut above your average rooftop bar.

Chef Wolfgang Puck's newest Cut location opened in Washington, D.C., last week, along with Cut Above, a rooftop lounge offering sweeping views of the city. Puck's restaurant group holds seven Restaurant Award winners in New Jersey, Michigan, Texas, Nevada and California, including Grand Award winner Spago Beverly Hills.

The D.C. Cut's wine list currently has more than 700 selections, with more to come. The program highlights local producers from Virginia, while also offering a broad range of Old and New World wines, as well as numerous Austrian wines, a nod to Puck's homeland.

"One focus of Cut D.C. is to highlight the wonderful local producers in and surrounding Washington, D.C., including winemakers, brewers, distillers and farmers," said Evan Moore, restaurant and bar director. Cut's contemporary American cuisine is locally sourced, with plenty of vegan and vegetarian options to shake up the standard steak house fare.—N.C.

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