In true Midtown fashion, La Pecora Bianca’s new location subscribes to the theory that if you find something people like, you should be making more of it. The Italian eatery at Midtown East is nearly twice the size of its Nomad counterpart, with bar seats, a bigger private dining room in the back and upcoming outdoor seating that will run along Second Avenue.
“[The second location] feels a little shinier,” executive chef Cruz Goler says. “It feels a little more polished and open.”
Balthazar architect Richard Lewis and interior designer Chiara de Rege created the 3,000-square-foot space with white millwork, a midcentury Italian lighting scheme, and vintage Italian photos and books. The overall effect is a bright, airy interior that emits a golden glow, but lights dim in the evening for a romantic change in mood, allowing the restaurant to easily transition from fresh brunch spot to intimate dinner hangout.
Goler’s already-strong menu benefits from the size, as the larger kitchen provides him with more capacity for experimentation. Additional oven room allows for large-format meat dishes, such as whole fish or steak for two with truffle polenta and marinated broccoli rabe, which the Nomad sister can usually serve only on slower nights.
However, loyal fans of the restaurant will see all their preferred La Pecora Bianca classics still on the menu. Previously a chef de cuisine for powerhouse culinary creatives including Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Goler brings his own flair and experience to Italian-inspired food. For example, classic arancini gets a flavor makeover with butternut squash and a sweet drizzle of Calabrian honey. Hearty, generously seasoned entrees—including braised heritage pork shoulder with grilled cabbage, dried apricots and speck—provide a welcome change from typical dainty Midtown fare.