Hotspot of the Month: Il Matto, New York City
The most inspired craziness at this sleek newcomer restaurant comes with the cocktail program.
Inside Il Matto.
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.