Evelina is a modern trattoria from Aurora Restaurant Group, the team behind Emporio, Aurora SoHo and Aurora Brooklyn. Owner Ricardo Buitoni has appointed Managing Partner Giuseppe de Francisci, a veteran of Aurora, Emporio, and the Standard Highline, and together, they aim to provide the neighborhood with a convivial spot; the kind where you can easily lose track of time over fine food and drinks.
Helming the kitchen is Executive Chef Lanfranco Paliotti, formerly of Daniel Boulud’s two Michelin-starred Daniel, Boulud Sud, and Heinz Beck’s Michelin-starred Apsleys in London.
The foundation of Chef Paliotti’s cuisine at Evelina is Mediterranean with strong Italian overtones. He designed the menus with sharing, passing and grazing in mind, and will change them daily based on what’s fresh at the market. His fine dining background is apparent in his mastery of the subtle details, like pastas with complex layers of flavor. Some standouts are Veal Tongue filled cappelletti in brodo, Squid Ink Spaghetti with razor clams, burnt tomatoes, dandelion & bottarga, and Garganelli with white heritage pork sugo and Fiore Sardo, a Pecorino cheese made in Sardinia from unpasteurized sheep’s milk.
The light, vibrant seafood, meat and vegetable dishes benefit from a special grill that uses cherry wood chips for infusing layers of flavor. Choices include tender Charred Octopus with dry fava bean purée, heirloom peppers and salmoriglio, Grilled Black Bass with fennel, radicchio, pine nuts, grape tomatoes and sauce vierge, and Grass Fed Bavette with sunchokes and bone marrow jus. Vegetables also reach new heights cooking over the wood smoke, like Roasted and Raw cauliflower with Brussels sprouts and bottarga, Grilled Mushrooms with sunchokes, housemade ricotta and hazelnuts, and Kale with delicata squash, chestnuts, pomegranate & Sardinian goat cheese.
Other highlights include Lightly Cured Fluke Crudo with sea urchin and citrus, Milk Fed Porcelet with lentils and apple gremolata, and Hand Cut Beef Tartare with stracciatella, preserved truffle, hazelnut and pane carasau, a traditional thin flatbread from Sardinia.
Evelina also offers a menu of standout sweet finishes. There is the Bitter Chocolate Tart with crème fraiche and maldon sea salt, the Salted Caramel Budino with polenta biscuits, and Greek Yogurt & Vanilla Panna Cotta with vincotto, pinenuts & ricotta fritters.
For light bites while imbibing, a rotating selection of bar snacks is also available including Lemon Arancini, cured meats, and the Pinsa Romana e Ceci, an ancient Roman style of flatbread thought to be the predecessor to pizza, cut and served with chickpea puree and olive tapenade. The dough for the pinsa rests for 72 hours before being cooked, making it extremely crisp and flavorful.
The seasonal cocktails were created by Simon Sebbah, who has experience from London’s Two Michelin-Starred Chelsea Brasserie. They were named for Shakespearian women, and feature fresh market ingredients that complement the dishes coming out of the kitchen. Options include the Ophelia, Mizu barley shochu, Amaro Montenegro, grapefruit juice, lemon juice and shiso leaf, the Cordelia, Espadin Mezcal, banana syrup, lime juice and Coco Lopez, and the Rosalind, London Dry Gin, cucumber water, lime juice, Thai basil infusion and sesame oil. The approachable, international wine list includes French, Austrian, Italian and American selections. The beer list favors domestic and local breweries including Other Half, Allagash White and Six Point.
No small detail has been overlooked in creating an elegant yet comfortable ambience. Within the 34-seat dining room, distressed wood floors, royal blue banquets, wood paneling, and mosaic tiling by the bar create a European feel. Lush green plants and circular glass and iron lighting fixtures accent the space.