Since opening Lilia in January 2016 with partner Sean Feeney, Robbins has scored a James Beard Award for best chef in NYC, three stars from the Times, two stars from Eater, an Eater chef of the year award, tons of celebrity praise, and never-ending lines of people vying for a seat.
And Robbins’ goal is for Misi to be just as good. “I want this to be as well-received as Lilia,” she says.
It’s a tall order — but lines seem like they’re already engineered to form at Misi, which homes in on pasta specifically. While Lilia serves a varied Italian menu, much of the attention has clustered on the restaurant’s standout noodles, of which Lilia sells 200-plus bowls a night.
The menu at Misi offers 10 kinds, all made in-house in a glass-enclosed pasta room off the dining room, ranging from sheep’s milk ricotta-filled occhi with bottarga and lemon to linguine with anchovy, garlic, parsley, colatura. None are Lilia repeats. Standing alongside are as many vegetable options, which Robbins wanted as a lighter foil to the noodles. A tight drink menu offers classic cocktails and Old World wines. The full menus are below.
“I have always wanted to do a really pasta-focused place, and Lilia gave me the confidence to do that,” Robbins says.
The 4,000-square-foot room has a similar aesthetic as Lilia, with lots of sunlight, light greys and whites, and an open kitchen. But here, diners can sit at a kitchen counter and watch chefs as they eat, just as passersby on the street can peer into the enticing pasta room. It feels like the sibling to Lilia that it is, with all the expectations that the association brings.
“There’s always pressure, but it’s a different kind of pressure than when I opened Lilia. I hadn’t been on the scene for two-and-a-half years and ... there was a curiosity,” Robbins says. “Now I think there’s anticipation. But that anticipation is exciting.”
Misi opens on Saturday, September 8 and will be open daily from 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m., with lunch to follow.