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A statue of a wild boar — or is it a warthog? — is perched at the entrance of a restaurant.
A wild boar, one of several statues in Bad Roman’s small menagerie, presides over the dining room.

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Welcome to the Year’s Most Unhinged Italian Restaurant So Far

The group behind Don Angie goes off-script at its new Italian restaurant in Columbus Circle

Dining is a spectacle at Bad Roman, the new not-Italian Italian restaurant from the Quality Branded team, where a Buca di Beppo version of a fern bar meets White Lotus-level decadence in a massive dining room one story below the three-Michelin-starred Per Se. (Got all that?) The restaurant opens this Friday on the third floor of the Time Warner Center at 10 Columbus Circle, between West 58th and 59th streets, taking over a space that was home to Landmarc for more than a decade.

Quality Branded is probably best known for running Midtown institution Smith & Wollensky and helping to open Don Angie, the eternally booked Italian American restaurant with a Michelin star. But Bad Roman is taking a different approach. The restaurant aims to inject some fun into the city’s regional Italian and Italian American restaurant scene, according to Michael Stillman, founder of the hospitality group. “This is not Don Angie,” he says. He means it’s not an Italian restaurant in the strict sense of the word. Or even in the loose sense. He wants Bad Roman to appeal to the masses — there’s garlic babka and tiramisu ice cream cake on the menu — without going off the rails.

A cabbage, almost resembling a Crunchwrap Supreme from Taco Bell, is decorated with small vegetables.
The garlic babka (left) and wedge salad.
Three dishes are arranged on a wooden table at a restaurant in Manhattan, Bad Roman.
Steak served three ways: with a crab cannellono (front), a Chianti-Poivre sauce, and cacio e pepe ravioli.

The menu is filled with “inauthentic twists on authentic dishes” that fall somewhere between Italian American and straight-up irreverent, he says. There’s a version of clams casino topped with capellini pasta made in-house, and a side of pepperoni cups with ranch meant to be eaten by hand. A two-pound lobster covered in Calabrian pasta and basil leaves is the most expensive food item at $95.

The stage for that menu is a 250-seat dining room that looks a bit like a coked-out Ruby Tuesday. Stillman says he told GRT Architects, the same folks who designed Don Angie, to “have a little fun” with the design. The dining room is outfitted with hanging plants, orange banquettes, views of Manhattan skyscrapers, and statues of wild boars and greyhounds. In the waiting area for the bathroom, there’s a full-sized fountain.

A whole lobster is arranged on a plate with a heap of basil leaves and orange-colored pasta.
The whole roasted lobster with Calabrian pasta.
Statues of greyhounds are arranged besides leather booths in a dining room.
Greyhounds frozen in time stand at attention.

The opening is a step in a newer direction for the hospitality group, which is responsible for the small empire of Quality Branded branded restaurants. There’s Quality Meats, the steakhouse; Quality Eats, the other steakhouse; Quality Italian, an Italian restaurant said to be inspired by modern steakhouses; and Quality Bistro, a one-off French bistro with steak frites and steak tartare.

More recently, though, the hospitality group has gone off-script, opening businesses that are more than red meat and overdesigned dining rooms. The group had a hand in bringing Don Angie to the West Village in 2017. Then last year, it opened Zou Zou’s, a Mediterranean restaurant at Manhattan West that lives up to its hype on social media.

Similar to those spots, the wager at Bad Roman seems to be that “quality” no longer needs to be in the name, and will hopefully speak for itself.

Bad Roman is open from 5 to 11 p.m. daily.

A dining room with red banquettes and custom light fixtures.
The restaurant has 250 seats in total.
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