At Stuzzicheria‘s opening, when I told the owner that a restaurant from the folks behind Luzzo’s was opening down the street at 275 Church, he said, “Luzzo’s? I love that place!” That’s how a lot of people feel about Michele Iuliano’s food, both at Luzzo’s in the East Village and Ovest in northwest Chelsea. (I’m not sure I’ve been emailed more about a restaurant opening.) Now Iuliano has a third restaurant, Da Mikele, which is “a little more sophisticated” as befits the neighborhood, says manager Isabella Gligora.
The space that used to be Neighborhood Restaurant & Bar has been handsomely revamped, the better to show off the brick wall, wood floor, and tin ceiling. All of the furniture—including the bar—was imported from Italy. While parts of the aesthetic—the Edison bulbs, dishtowel napkins—are familiar from other restaurants in town, there are idiosyncratic touches, such as the Vespa in the window and the gilt frames hanging from the ceiling.
As for the food, you’re going to want to know one thing first: The pizzas are rectangular, not round as at Luzzo’s (there are also three cone-shaped pizzas if you’re into that). The oven will get a real workout: Also on the menu are ‘a frusta (a Neapolitan specialty that’s sort of like a calzone); sandwiches on homemade focaccia; and friselle (topped flatbreads, not unlike bruschetta). There are also appetizers, salads, soups, pastas, and a few grilled entrées for carbophobes. Da Mikele is open daily from noon to midnight, and on weekends the brunch menu features several egg dishes as well as the full array of pizzas. The menu: page 1 and page 2.
Two more important details: Da Mikele has yet to receive its liquor license (and you can’t BYO in the meantime—yes, you read that right. The State Liquor Authority only allows BYO at restaurants that have not applied for a liquor license). And yes, Da Mikele delivers.
Da Mikele is at 275 Church (between Franklin and White); 212-925-8800, damikele.com.