Menu details are out for restaurateur and chef duo Victor Rallo and Dave Pasternack’s two new restaurants set to replace the upscale seafood restaurant Barca and barbecue spot Surf, which closed on Sunday.
Barca, at 44 Navy Pier Court, will transform into a traditional Italian restaurant called Pastavino — similar to Rallo’s Italian trattoria in Red Bank, New Jersey — and barbecue restaurant Surf, at 37 Navy Pier Court, will become a bi-level sports bar and steakhouse called Navy Pier Prime & Taproom, a representative for the restaurateurs tells Eater. Pastavino is set to open sometime during the week of February 17, and the sports bar will open in March.
It’s the latest push to make Staten Island’s massive waterfront residential development Urby, which opened in 2016, NYC’s next big dining destination. But things haven’t looked good so far: Eleven different businesses — including restaurants and coffee shops — have come and gone from the development since its opening, according to SI Live. Among the closures are an outpost of the Long Island City coffee chain Coffeed, and a hip, pricey deli called Bodega.
With their latest effort, Rallo and Pasternack seem to be pivoting to something tried and tested.
At 120-seat Pastavino, the usual suspects dominate the menu including a burrata salad, fried calamari, and arancini for appetizers; a selection of meats and cheeses; and a large variety of pastas including chitarra cacio e pepe and spaghetti pomodoro. Seafood dishes that caught New Yorker critic Hannah Goldfield’s notice at Barca won’t live on, though dishes like a whole roasted branzino, and a mafaldine pasta dish with shrimp and calamari will be available.
The sports bar and steakhouse are pretty typical for their genre too: The taproom has wings, burger, and a raw bar, while the steakhouse will serve dry-aged beef that’s cooked on wood-fired grills. The sports bar, which will also ping pong and shuffleboard, will take up the ground floor and a patio at 37 Navy Pier Court, and seat 60 inside and 120 people outside. The steakhouse will be on the floor above that and have room for 100 people. It will also have a large wine list with selections from Oregon, California, Italy, and France.
Josh Laurano, who was the executive chef at Barca, will remain in that position at the two new restaurants. He was previously the executive chef at Mario Batali’s Chelsea restaurant La Sirena before it closed following allegations of sexual misconduct against Batali.
Rallo declined to provide specifics for why Barca and Surf closed, only writing in an Instagram post that they’re trying “to appeal to even more people.”
Whether these new restaurants can draw more people to Staten Island’s north shore remains to be seen — though it certainly has a shot with Rallo and Pasternack at the helm, who also own Midtown Italian seafood destination Esca. Pasternack, who’s a major player in NYC’s seafood scene, has been the chef at Esca since 2004.