We went to Ciano Restaurant this week with some new friends. Ciano is located on East 22nd Street in the location where Becco used to be. I really like how they renovated the restaurant. Someone actually came over the table and said, "doesn't it feel like we are in Aspen"? The more I thought about it, the more I thought he was spot on. There is something incredibly cozy and warm about the entire place. A wood burning fireplace warms the room. The colors are all neutral with aged wood, a nice long bar in the front room and a great big white spout for a variety of beers. I believe there are a few large private rooms upstairs too. Not sure how they will turn Ciano to a summer feel come the warmer months but someone will figure it out.
We all opted to share everything which is my favorite way to go. Gives you a really good overall feel for the food. Keep in mind they opened just recently. The service was not there, at all. We had a three hour meal which is insane. Good thing we enjoyed the company we were with. Not very quick to ask for an order, bring a check, get a bottle of wine or ask if we want to order dessert. They also could not find our coats when we left. Two of us actually went into the tiny coat closet to just pull out our coats. Good thing I like my coat or I would have had my pick. The food was mixed but some of the dishes were really good. I did one mess up which is one of the people we were with is kosher and I thought I was thinking but I obviously wasn't. We began with a small dish of deep fried rock shrimp. This was ok, nothing great. Kind of mushy in texture.
The first round of food was all appetizers and honestly everything was pretty good. Rainbow beets with whipped ricotta, watercress and balsamic and a small dollop of pesto. Delicious. Light, flavorful, each piece on the plate was well presented and everything just tasted good.
Roasted baby artichoke salad with shaved Parm, cherry tomatoes and wine vinegar. There was garlic here which I didn't realize but this dish was top. The artichokes melted in your mouth. Sorry this pic didn't come out.
The veal meatballs are killer. If nobody was interested in the dish, I would have tried to hoard it. Big fluffy meatballs that have been roasted and served over a white polenta dish which is creamy and decadent. The added truffle pecorino over the dish just put this over the top.
Two pastas. Fat pasta with baby octopus, pancetta and garlic bread crumbs. They left out the garlic part for me. Thank you! I wasn't wowed by this dish. The textures were all soft and just all mushed together and nothing popped.
The lamb was delicious. I loved how they cut the lamb off the bone and served the bones on the side to show you. Smart. Nice presentation. Served with a carmelized fennel on the side and a apple and swiss chard. The lamb was really delicious and full of flavor. A winner.
I like Ciano. I will be back. The food was good and I bet it gets better with time. Ciano is not a new hipster spot, it is an adult spot. After all, the chef and the sommelier came from Cru. When it is freezing outside and you are looking for a place that is warm and cozy with a nice bottle of red wine and some good food, Ciano hits the spot. Let's see what happens come warmer weather.