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Torrisi Italian Specialties

photo by Adam Goldberg

Torrisi Italian Specialties, which began life in 2010 as a sandwich shop and restaurant serving $45 four-course meals cooked by two Café Boulud and Del Posto vets, has spawned an empire of three restaurants and three sandwich shops, including splashy retro orgy Carbone and haute crudo destination ZZ’s Clam Bar. Chef Mario Carbone now mostly presides over his namesake, while the flagship location of Torrisi on Mulberry Street is very much Rich Torrisi’s domain. Having tinkered with courses, added a more substantial dessert program, and moved the sandwich operation next door to Parm, Torrisi now serves a nine-course menu of Italian-American — inspired small plates for $100. The chef’s warm, fresh mozzarella is the curd heard ’round NYC, and for good reason: The pliant, stretchy mound pulls like taffy, with a concentrated richness. The kitchen freezes bushels of summer corn during peak season to use throughout the year for the polenta that accompanies tender Wagyu short rib. It’s detail-oriented touches like these — along with the charming, Lilliputian dining room — that help solidify this restaurant’s reputation for a uniquely progressive approach to Italian-American dining.