It was a bit of 'buona fortuna' that seasoned restauranteur Luigi Russo settled on Manhattan's 133 E. 61st St. New York, NY as the location in which to relocate his modern Italian restaurant Il Postino. Once the long-tenured home to another acclaimed restauranteur named Luigi, Luigi Russo is honored to follow in the footsteps of Chef Luigi Nanni by offering true Italian cooking with the finest ingredients served in an elegant atmosphere.
When Nanni opened Nanni Il Valleto in 1975, he was known to refuse serving a dish that did not have the proper ingredients – a vow that led a New York Times critic to proclaim it "one of the more splendiferous Italian restaurants in town.''
"Nanni was one of the first in the United States to offer Italian food as it's served in Italy. At our new Il Postino location on the Upper-East side, we appreciate these same traditions, the way that I was taught to cook when I was only five years old," said Luigi Russo.
Also known as the location that brought fame to Chef David Burke in the early 2000's, the now open Il Postino Restaurante is a rebirth of the former 49th Street location of the same name. The historied building's exterior was refreshed with bright orange awnings, fitting for the neighborhood, which is also home to the Hermès luxury boutique located just a block away.
Il Postino's interior features a style and charm that once defined fine dining in New York City years ago.
A glowing, amber-veined marble bar greets guests as they step down into Il Postino. Rich mahoganies are complimented by pastel yellows; fresh florals invite guests into the 94-seat dining room. Adorning the walls are romantic black & white classic cinema photos and colorful murals with subjects that guests recognize, and those they know they should recognize.
Lush leather banquets, shimmering crystal chandeliers, and dual fireplaces provide the ideal atmosphere to enjoy Il Postino's ample menu of pastas, fresh fish, meats, salads, and delicacy accompaniments including truffles, figs, prosciutto, and buffalo mozzarella. House-made pastas include ricotta and spinach filled Angnolotti; Linguine alle Vongole (clams), Risottos, Calamari in saffron sauce, and Spaghetti Alla Chitarra; named for the Italian word for guitar, the chittara is a chef's tool with guitar-like strings used to cut the pasta.
Carni offerings include Grilled Sirloin, Fillet Mignon in port wine sauce, Lemon Chicken, Lamb with sweet garlic sauce, and several choices of veal, including Bone-in, Milanese, or the Double Cut Grilled Veal Chop – one of the best available according to Luigi Russo.
A variety of fresh fish is available cooked to perfection, including the signature Dover Sole. But even more fresh seafood can be found in an abundance of dishes on the new Crudo Menu. Still novel to many U.S. menus, Luigi Russo celebrates this Italian-born dish with crudo preparations of a dozen different fish and shellfish varieties.
Far from what many Americans think of when it comes to raw fish, crudo is notably different from Japanese sashimi with soy and wasabi in that crudo is prepared with traditional fresh ingredients, oils, and seasonings. Il Postino's Crudo Menu features salmon, tuna, octopus, oysters, baby cuttlefish and sea bass – each dish brought to life with cold-pressed virgin olive oil from Italy, balsamic vinegars, fresh herbs, aromatics, and other Mediterranean spices.
Luigi Russo is confident that New Yorkers, especially those who live, visit, shop, and adore Manhattan's historic Upper-East side, will find Il Postino an ideal Lenox Hill addition for regular dining and special occasions alike.
"We're bringing back the glamour of the 1950's & 60's. Il Postino has that elegant vibe without the pretentiousness. It's become apparent hearing from friends and customers that those excited for the revival of New York City will enjoy the classic appeal of fine Italian cooking in a welcoming and opulent atmosphere," said Luigi Russo.
Il Postino is open seven days a week for dinner 5pm-11pm, 10:30pm Sundays. Lunch, Monday-Friday 12pm-3pm, Saturday opening soon.
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