Gals and guys, let’s suffice it to say that I am a girl that loves to eat. I am also, to be completely honest, a bit particular about WHERE I eat. It doesn’t have to be expensive, it just has to be good. Which is why when a friend of mine recently introduced me to Zampa, after I collected myself from the experience, it was time to tell you about it.
This gorgeous, cozy and SEXY restaurant (the trifecta in my personal style book) has food to die for, which seals it as a LBBOS entry. Located in New York’s West Village, it does something that is the hallmark of all good eating: Italian food that is simple but extraordinarily well-executed.
The menu is fantastic and the chef’s recommended entrees change with the seasons to reflect their local, seasonal, sustainably-harvested ingredients that tend to be organic when available. The restaurant specializes in small plates, so food is meant to be shared, making it perfect for a girls night out or a romantic date. They also have over 80 hand-selected wines, so if you imbibe, this would be the place to do it.
I had a chance to talk to Zampa’s owner, Anthony Briatico, to get the low down on Zampa’s secrets and how he came up with the concept for such a culinary gem. Here’s what he had to say:
FSB: How did you come up with the overall concept for the restaurant?
Anthony Briatico: Great question! Wine bars in general present – for me, at least – the perfect casual dining experience. Cheeses, salumi, and a great wine that highlights the combination of those flavors creates a straightforward meal, reminiscent of the bars in Italy. Eat a little or more, stay at the bar, or sit at a table; the simplicity and casualness translates perfectly to the New York City lifestyle. That’s at the heart of everything Zampa stands for and aspires to be.
FSB: The restaurant is aesthetically beautiful – simple, elegant and inviting. Who designed the decor and what was the thought behind it?
Briatico: Zampa is a take on the original enotecas of Italy, we just push it to the next level with style, ambiance, and an eclectic musical playlist. Zampa is casual, but if you look closely you will see a great amount of effort has been put into our decor. As the son of an architect, I constantly try to explore classic, contemporary furnishings that mesh with our space: iconic, original Fiberglass Eames chairs; artemide lighting; and our walnut zigzag bar…it’s the art that might normally hang on other restaurants walls. Design aficionados will fully recognize our approach.
FSB: How did you design the menu? What are some of your favorites from the menu?
Briatico: My partner (chef Alessandro Prosperi, former chef of Bottino and Barocco fame) and I designed the menu as a representation of the food we loved as children. I can still remember my grandfather wrapping prosciutto around sugary slices of melon…the salt and sweet taste combination remains a favorite of mine. The simplicity of good ingredients in their unadulterated form is the foundation of our entire menu. Italians have been practicing farm-to-table techniques for centuries, so we’re proud to continue to offer this way of dining.
FSB: What are some secrets to throwing a great dinner? What makes for a particularly lovely celebration?
Briatico: First and foremost, you have to have a great wine. The setting should be light and easy. Delicious food presented in a fresh manner that isnt too fussy or intimidating. Also, it is important for the host to prepare food in advance. Do your pre-work, then take the time to catch-up with your closest friends, share a delicious plate of pasta and maybe drink a little too much – that would sum up a great evening for me.
FSB: Fashion.Style.Beauty is about living well at every price point. What are some of your secrets to living well? What are some of your own favorite things that make life better?
Briatico: My life is made easier by surrounding myself with classic pieces, furniture, shoes, a well-tailored suit. I don’t mind spending a little more for quality, even it it means the quantities are less. Never lose sight of value – it shows and the confidence it helps exude is priceless.
Zampa NYC, 306 West 13th Street, New York, NY. For reservations, call 212-203-0601