What’s Haute: New York including Townhouse Spa, La Caprice, Avenue, Piccola Cucina


For generations, the same family ran the local candy store/soda shop in the Carroll Gardens neighborhood that Mark Iacono grew up in. By 2004, when the family decided to sell the space, the community was rapidly changing and Iacono’s idyllic shop was well on its way to becoming a horrid fast food joint. Iacono saw the vacant space as the perfect opportunity to preserve some authenticity of his childhood stomping grounds. What he ended up with was the most coveted slice of pizza in the tri-state area.

Lucali is beloved by many a celebrity, but the reason New Yorkers continue to line up outside the restaurant is for the pizza itself. It is made with a secret ingredient, and the toppings speak for themselves: artichoke hearts with garlic, beef pepperoni with peppers and onion, and Iacono’s personal favorite—plain. The restaurant only serves pizza and calzones, and is a BYOB, cash-only establishment. Family-man Iacono eats there with his daughter twice a week, but otherwise, he says, “it’s too crowded.”

Wooden tables, minimal décor, and Frank Sinatra playing in the background give the restaurant old-New-York charm without a hint of pretention. It’s the kind of place where you just might fall in love with the person with whom you’re having dinner. At the very least, you’ll fall in love with Lucali.

Lucali is located at 575 Henry St. in Brooklyn.

Hotel Griffou

When Hotel Griffou, the former 19th-century bohemian boarding house, reopened this spring, it quickly became a New York haute spot for those in the know. The unmarked restaurant exudes a cozy decadence with low lighting, wood-burning fireplaces, and rich, tapestry-covered booths. The space is sectioned off into various rooms, including a library, wine vault, and palm de terrace salon, which creates a sense of intimacy and hearkens back to the restaurant’s eclectic past.

Johnny Swett, one of the owners whose artistic side shows itself through painting, has filled the space with art that he calls “respectful of the past, but fresh.” The large collection, which rotates every few months, features artists ranging from prominent New Yorkers like Sam Bassett to talented young student hopefuls.

The menu combines modern American fare with reinterpretations of traditional French-American dishes. Keeping with the ritual of decadence that once defined Griffou, the artisanal cocktails include only fresh muddled ingredients and hand-shaved, cold-draft ice that won’t dilute your drink.

Starting this month, there’s another reason to go to Griffou—daytime service. The restaurant bar is bringing its artisanal cocktail savviness to a new, more relaxed brunch menu. Worry not, this is still a decidedly adult brunch with a variety of Champagne cocktails and Bloody Marys to accompany classic favorites like Pain Perdu (French toast) and steak and eggs.

Hotel Griffou is located at 21 West 9th St. in Greenwich Village, between Fifth and Sixth Avenue.

Abe & Arthur’s

Eugene Remm, Mark Birnbaum, and Michael Hirtenstein of the New York hospitality and lifestyle company EMM Group like to keep things close to home. They also have a penchant for creating eponymous and cleverly named venues, such as their Meatpacking District nightclub, Tenjune, after Eugene and Mark’s shared birth date. Paying homage to their three grandfathers, their newest restaurant, Abe & Arthur’s and the accompanying Simyone Lounge, are no exception.

The restaurant and club, which opened in October, is located next door to EMM’s business office in the Meatpacking District and a stone’s throw from Tenjune. The building also happens to be the former home of Lotus, a nightclub that Birnbaum used to frequent. “We really believe in this neighborhood,” explains Birnbaum, who lives two blocks away from the restaurant. (The company also runs the Chandelier room at the W Hotel in Hoboken, which Birnbaum can see from his home across the river.)

The menu, which is overseen by Executive Chef Franklin Becker, is comprised of classic American fare—a reflection of the owners’ backgrounds as well. It features a selection of steaks and seafood, a slew of comfort food sides like mac-and-cheese, garlic mashed potatoes and green beans, and ricotta donut balls for dessert. The meatloaf recipe is courtesy of Birnbaum’s mother.

Through a clean industrial design, leather banquettes, and sleek bars, the owners hope to create a timeless place for their patrons, including regulars, real estate developers, and prominent figures in entertainment and media. An upper level can be reserved for private parties, but be forewarned that on busy nights this is where random guests who aren’t there for a power-room meal are resigned to eat.

Abe & Arthur’s is located at 409 West 14th St. Simyone Lounge is located in the basement and is only accessible by a separate entrance.