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The Early Word on Stephen Starr's Caffe Storico

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Stephen Starr, the mega-restauranteur who owns Morimoto and Buddakan here and a sizable empire of restaurants in Philadelphia, has recently opened his newest venture, Caffe Storico, in the newly renovated New York Historical Society. The venue offers a Venetian menu for both lunch and dinner from chef Jim Burke. So far, there has been some confusion on why an Italian restaurant is in the New York Historical Society, but let's see if the food overrides those qualms.

The Great News: A happy patron on Yelp writes: "Love this place! The restaurant itself is beautiful and the service is super attentive. Per our server's recommendation, we had the meatballs and octopus to start - the meatballs were good but nothing special but I liked the flavors in the octopus and potato dish. My friend and I tried the cavatelli and the mezzaluna pastas. The cavatelli was ok but it was the artichoke mezzaluna pasta that blew me away. I really loved it - I want to come back just for that pasta. We had the amaretto semifreddo for dessert - thumbs up for that and the overall great dining experience. I can't wait to come back for brunch!" [Yelp]

The Okay News: Tweets @EFSlattery: "Thawing out after a walk to Caffe Storico at the NY Historical Society. Beautiful interior, good coffee + desserts. Ho-hum service." [Twitter]

The Good News: Another tweet is all positive: "My wife & I enjoyed a most wonderful meal at #Caffe #Storico on New Year's Eve. Our first time there, we will be back!" [Twitter]

The Over-Hyped News: One Menupages reviewer isn't so impressed: "I only had lunch there, and what I had was fine, but the place is incredibly noisy and while the service was polite, it had that veneer rather than depth of professionalism that NYC restaurants often have. The place will be a money maker for the NYHS, which is great, but it is completely out of character as the only place to eat in an educational institution." [Menupages]

The Possible Shill: This anonymous patron over embellished a bit much: If your idea of a great day in NYC involves history - and great food - you must visit Caffe Storico. Our first trip to the impressively restored NY Historical Society ended with a delightful dining experience. Although it was a rainy, dreary night in NYC, the high ceilings, white walls, mirrors, and the society's china collections created a cheerful, warm, uncluttered atmosphere. (I can only imagine how lovely it must be during a sunny day.) The light atmosphere of the setting reflected the superbly delicate but satisfying Italian dishes. Knowledgable staff guided us through our course selections, each of which was excellent. Coupled with great wines (also at the suggestion of staff) we left dutifully impressed. Do try as many of the pasta dishes as you can, you won't be disappointed." [Menupages]

The Really Bad News: Via Yelp: "One star for the atmosphere and the service. Beautiful place. Professional wait staff but the food. Ordered Alaska King Crab for $12 and it was served in plate the size of a side order of coleslaw from your local diner (and it looked just like it, too). It was served with two tiny pieces of stale Italian bread. I was starving after that so I ordered a salad. Expected superb presentation on the salad. It was a few lettuce leaves and shaved zucchini dumped into a white cereal bowl ($8). Honestly, the restaurant's gorgeous but please get your food act together." [Yelp]

The Not so Great News: Steve Cuozzo offers this brief assessment: "Does hope lie in Stephen Starr’s new Caffe Storico at the New-York Historical Society? Maybe, but not based on its chocolate-sprinkled pappardelle that tasted suitable for Dylan’s Candy Bar."

—Alexis deBoschnek

Caffe Storico

170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10023

Caffe Storico

2 West 77th St., New York, NY