Chef Hillary Sterling and Union Square Hospitality Group unveiled Ci Siamo, a restaurant that invites New York home. Translating to “here were are” or “we’ve arrived” in Italian, Ci Siamo bridges traditional with contemporary design to create a space that is equally transportive and familiar. Alongside legendary Pastry Chef Claudia Fleming and General Manager Megan Sullivan, Executive Chef Hillary Sterling centers her Italian-inflected menu around live-fire cooking and quality ingredients, inspired by the unassuming yet lasting discoveries made on trips near and far.
“These are the dishes I’d serve and the stories I’d tell if you were coming over to my own home,” says Chef Hillary Sterling. “The phrase ‘Ci Siamo’ represents a sense of long awaited arrival and anticipation – the ease that washes over you when you get to your destination after a long drive, that first drink on a Friday night following a long week – something we’ve all been searching for over the past year and a half. We aim to be an ever-evolving and soulful restaurant that you’ll want to visit time and time again.”
“Finally, we can announce ‘we’ve arrived’ and ‘we’re ready,’’’ says USHG Founder and CEO Danny Meyer. “Hillary and her team have brought a restaurant – long in the planning – to life, with a deep sense of identity that makes each and every guest feel as if they’ve turned a corner and unearthed something entirely new.”
Ci Siamo’s menu revolves around wood-fired cooking, a personal hobby turned daily obsession for Chef Sterling, that serves as the restaurant’s focal point. With roots throughout Italy, and pulled from Chef Sterling’s own travels, Ci Siamo’s dishes also find inspiration more locally, changing with the season and spotlighting passionate regional producers.
Dinner at Ci Siamo begins, like all great meals, with freshly baked breads, a Cast Iron Focaccia served with tomato conserva and a Grilled Sourdough with artichoke salmoriglio and mint. The menu then evolves into bolder starters including an Insalata di Mare with castelvetrano olives and aleppo, a Caramelized Onion Torta with balsamic and pecorino Toscana and a Pizza Bianca with anchovy, salsa verde and aioli, inspired by a dish Chef Sterling discovered in small trattoria in Piedmont many years ago. Bright and flavorful vegetable dishes, intended to be enjoyed throughout the meal, feature seasonal ingredients like Delicata Squash with walnuts, chili and honey, Marinated Charred Peppers with feta and shallots and Smashed Potatoes al Forno with rosemary and pecorino.
Ci Siamo’s pastas, which Chef Sterling has loved preparing over the course of her career at Vic’s and A Voce, include classics like Rigatoni alla Gricia, made with guanciale sourced from La Salumina in upstate New York, and Tagliatelle with tomato and buffalo butter, alongside more seasonal variations including a Rapini Agnolotti with ricotta and lemon and Potato Topini with a mint, almonds, anchovy and a touch of cinnamon, a nod to the south of Italy. Proteins rely heavily on Ci Siamo’s live fire and include Wood Fired Whole Trout with pine nuts and mustard greens, Braised Lamb with celery pesto and Brussels sprouts and a Dry Aged Ribeye with salsa verde.
Ci Siamo’s pastry program, created by USHG’s award-winning Executive Pastry Director Claudia Fleming, follows the same guiding principles of simplicity and intentionality as the restaurant’s savory offerings. Expertly executed dishes like a Lemon Torta with olive oil and meringue, Bomboloni with chocolate amaro and a Chocolate Budino with espresso crema and smoked almonds, offer a balanced and sophisticated end to the meal. Chef Fleming has also developed a rotating selection of gelati, including Espresso Stracciatella, Hazelnut and Goat’s Milk Lemon, in addition to rich dairy-free sorbetti featuring Dark Chocolate and Black Currant.
On the beverage side, Beverage Director Robin Wright and Bar Manager Matt Chavez (both formerly of The NoMad Hotel) have created wine, beer and cocktail offerings that marry Italian drinking culture with a New York mindset. Ci Siamo’s wine program showcases the diversity and depth of Italian viticulture, with a list featuring some of the world’s most celebrated winemakers alongside more off-the-beaten path growers. From the Valle d’Aosta to Sicily, with highly-prized and rarified bottles, guests can expect an exciting collection with an eye towards exceptional quality and value. Alongside selections highlighting lesser-known regions and unexpected varietals, Ci Siamo will also be home to an impressive list of grower Champagne, available both by glass and bottle.
Also unique to the bar program is Chef Sterling’s menu of bold aperitivo-inspired bites intended to be enjoyed alongside a cocktail. Dishes include a pillowy Gnocco Fritto with goat’s gouda, Mortadella with pistachio and a Panino with lingua, tonnato and onion, a reimagined take on the classic vitello tonnato. The cocktail list, inspired by aperitivo traditions, features classic and seasonally-driven drinks that showcase spirits of the highest quality – a Negroni with Occitan Gin, Campari, vermouth and Barolo Chinato, the Ci Siamo Martini and a Spritz featuring Aperitivo Select, sit alongside original cocktails like Bitter Giuseppe with cynar, punt e mes, lemon and sea salt and the Mandorla, a take on a amaretto sour featuring housemade almond orgeat and oat milk.
The space itself – a bi-level restaurant overlooking Manhattan West’s main plaza – has been brought to life by the NYC-based interior design and branding firm Goodrich. Guests enter the space through a street level foyer, before ascending a dramatic staircase to Ci Siamo’s comfortable lounge and bar area. A sinuous path flows through the first dining room, past an open kitchen, and into a larger dining space with the hearth at one end. An outdoor dining terrace extends over the plaza, reminiscent of an Italian piazza, and the third floor features a private dining room with an intimate bar and Empire State Building views. Mixing modern architecture with Italian warmth and refinement, Goodrich also calls back to Ci Siamo’s emphasis on the open fire, incorporating elements of terra-cotta, ceramic, metal and blown glass throughout the interior, in addition to a custom mural drawn in charcoal.
Ci Siamo’s opening represents a pivotal moment in the revitalization of New York City, the recovery of the hospitality industry and the development of the far west side of Manhattan. With a welcoming embrace, a well-made drink and a meal that celebrates the spirit of culinary discovery, Ci Siamo is proud to announce “we’ve arrived.”