Make a wrong turn in Ian Schrager’s ultra-chic Gramercy Park Hotel and suddenly you will find yourself in Danny Meyer’s retro Roman-style trattoria, Maialino. It is his first Italian restaurant, and it is an unqualified success. Chef Nick Anderer serves regional Roman dishes (carbonara, braised tripe, suckling pig) with the freshest, seasonal ingredients available. Open bakery, cheese and salumi stations divide the pastoral dining room designed by the Rockwell Group. They have succeeded in creating at atmosphere of warmth and fashionable rusticity with tile floors inspired by the floors of the Pantheon, timbered ceilings, blue and white checkered tablecloths and oak wainscoting.
As you might imagine, dishes involving pork stand out (maialino means “little pig”). The best is the Malfatti al Maialino with Suckling Pig Ragu & Arugula, a deeply flavorful and hearty dish that could hold its own with any pasta joint in town. Anderer adds sweet butter, veal stock and fresh arugula with lemon juice to provide a contrast to the incredibly rich and soft shreds of suckling pig. Composed as an afterthought, it’s now Mailino’s best-selling pasta dish. It is absolutely imperative that you begin your brunch with a house made pastry such as the Proscuitto Cotto Biscuit, a honey butter glazed ham biscuit so delectable it is difficult to believe. Relax with an outstanding espresso or latte and enjoy the bay windowed view onto Gramercy Park.
2 Lexington Ave.
New York (nr. 21st St.)
(212) 777-2410 Mon-Thurs, 7:30am-10am, noon-2pm, 5:30pm-10:30pm; Fri, 7:30am-10am, noon-2pm, 5:30pm-11pm; Sat, 10am-2pm, 5:30pm-11pm; Sun, 10am-2pm