Review: Felice Opens Its Latest Italian Restaurant Outpost

Kendyl Kearly | January 13, 2020 | Food & Drink

Nicole_Franzen_Felice_56_Interiors_Dining_Room_007.jpgA watercolor by Italian painter Fiona Corsini di San Giuliano was commissioned exclusively for the restaurant

Entering Felice 56 is like stepping into a speakeasy—or maybe an Indiana Jones movie. Past a cafe offering coffee and takeaway, a staircase leads to a cavelike restaurant with no windows but soaring ceilings. Studio Robert McKinley absolutely transformed the subterranean space with intimate lighting and an enormous mural by Fiona Corsini di San Giuliano to fully announce the Chambers Hotel’s new adjoining restaurant.

The sixth Felice restaurant is perfect for a drinks date with its comfortable booths and impressive drinks list. I sampled three cocktails (the light U.V.A. Spritz, the bitter Mirto’s Bubbles and the deep Figo in Manhattan), and each hits a different note exceptionally.

Nicole_Franzen_Felice_56_Bar_Cocktails_UvaSpritz_008.jpgThe U.V.A. Spritz contains Hangar 1 Rosé vodka, litchi liqueur, Disaronno Amaretto, rhubarb bitters and Prosecco Sant Ambroeus.

Although the menu is well-balanced, the majority of the items are repeats from other Felices, but chef Adrian Kercuku does put original spins on some of them. For example, he swaps pappardelle for fusilli in the cavolo nero e salsiccia and pairs his version of the tagliata di manzo with a salsa verde.

Original to this location, the pappardelle al cacao’s short rib ragu is complemented by chocolate-infused pasta. The chocolate is subtle but goes well with the meatiness of the dish. Less impressive is the pumpkin pasta with poached butternut squash, amaretti crumbles and 36-month-aged Parmigiano-Reggiano. The sauce was candy-sweet, and unfortunately, the shape of the zucca caught every bit of it.

Nicole_Franzen_Felice_56_Food_Apps_Crudo_004.jpgRhode Island fluke with a citrus pistachio pesto

Instead, opt for the chicken liver, served with apple-sweet onions and a bed of polenta. The dessert list is strong, but the most divine might be the gianduia confection of hazelnut and chocolate, best enjoyed with an ounce of Hennessy Paradis.

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Photography by: Nicole Franzen