Andrew Carmellini has officially completed his takeover of Williamsburg’s William Vale Hotel (111 N. 12th St.). It started with the rooftop cocktail bar Westlight, then the burger-slinging Airstream trailer on the terrace, and now we have the opening of coastal Italian spot Leuca with a menu by executive chef Anthony Ricco.
For this first gig with Carmellini’s NoHo Hospitality group, Ricco was drawn by the promise of a wood-burning oven and an easygoing vibe. The compact menu makes room for more antipasti (seabass tartare, wood-roasted sunchokes) than all the mains combined (goat bolognaise, sea urchin spaghetti), pizzas and eight desserts.
“I was a fan of Locanda Verde and his other restaurants, so I knew the quality that would be involved,” he says. “The whole project’s been about having fun.”
Ricco spent 11 years at the Meatpacking Asian cuisine funhouse that was Spice Market (RIP) before arriving at Leuca, which conveniently puts him closer to his Greenpoint home. We asked where he likes to go now that the restaurant is up and running and he has a little free time — or does he?
Late night: "I have a newborn so I haven’t been out late nights for a while, but Blue Ribbon Brasserie in the city will always be my favorite go-to, I got a lot of history of going there back in the day after work, get a lot of drinks in me. They always have the classics, oysters, roasted bone marrow, a lot of good stuff like that.” 97 Sullivan St., SoHo
Catching up with friends: "I’m from Greenpoint, so my go-to spot is in Woodside at a place called Donovan’s Pub, it’s just where we always gravitate toward — good pub, good burger, good French onion soup, cold beer.” 57-24 Roosevelt Ave., Queens
Under $10: “My favorite is the lamb gyro from the Istanbul Grill. It’s a very small Turkish restaurant — I lived in Istanbul for a while so it’s very very as close to authentic as I could find here.” 310 W. 14th St., West Village
Out-of-town guests: “My main spot is usually Jean Georges — I know some people so whenever I go there, they want to cook for me. When you have people in town, they usually want to go to Central Park, so it’s very... central.” Trump Tower, 1 Central Park W., Midtown
Date night: “I really like Lafayette. I like the vibe, the room, something about it — perfect lighting, get a nice corner spot with a view of the whole room. For me, you gotta get the beef tartare, always oysters wherever me and my wife go, and the roast chicken is fantastic. It’s like a real chef thing, too, a perfectly cooked chicken is one of chefs’ go-to meals." 380 Lafayette St., NoHo
Most Instagrammable: “[William Vale rooftop bar] Westlight, it’s insane. Every day I go up there to check in and taste everything, and I have to walk out into the dining room to kind of reset myself and get that view of the city, it’s a stunning place. At sunset, it’s the most incredible thing.” 111 N. 12th St., Williamsburg