Il Matto translates as the mad man in Italian and there’s definitely something a little eccentric about this sleek newcomer restaurant in New York City’s TriBeCa neighborhood. The interior is minimalist-chic with a graffiti painting portraying owner/chef Matteo Boglione as a wild octopus creature hanging on one wall; diners, meanwhile, can savor the creative, contemporary Milanese fare—dishes include pecorino crème brûlée and pork served in a Parmigiano fondue—in rotating teacup-like booths (the idea is that they enhance privacy).
But the most inspired craziness comes with the restaurant’s cocktail program. Boglione snagged Puglia-born mixologist Christina Bini, who left a position at the renowned Florentine bar Fusion and traveled across the ocean to helm the bar at Il Matto. One of today’s more progressive-minded cocktail artists, Bini doesn’t shy away from experimentation and you’ll discover a wide array of unusual ingredients (think cheese and vegetables) on her menu. Some of the signature drinks include: the Pasolini, composed of brandy, Frangelico, sugar, ricotta cheese and mixed berries, all blended together; the elaborately garnished La Signorina, a gin-based concoction topped with strawberry, lettuce and a balsamic vinegar reduction; some extra-dry stone martinis (they contain actual stones) and the Clamato Mary, which, as the name implies, involves a clam juice reduction. To help novice imbibers navigate the menu, drinks are divided into savory/dry, sweet and salty categories. Bini will be working behind the bar for a while, assisting her American staff in the construction of these elaborate concoctions.