Sartiano’s at the Mercer hotel opens June 15, an Italian American restaurant with fine dining flair. It’s the namesake from nightlife aficionado Scott Sartiano behind membership club and Mayor Eric Adams’s go-to, Zero Bond, who has teamed up with three-time James Beard Award-winning chef, Alfred Portale.
Sartiano’s is an ambitious switch-up from its former tenant, the swanky Mercer Kitchen from Jean-Georges Vongerichten — “one of the most famous chefs on the planet,” Sartiano acknowledges — that had resided in the space for nearly 25 years. The restaurant is located at 99 Prince Street, near Mercer Street.
Mayoral appointee Sartiano is “very conscious” that he’s “stepping into very big shoes,” he says of the change at a Soho corner he calls “a center of gravity” for downtown Manhattan. The restaurant has been at least two years in the making, an overhaul that undoes the minimalist design in the Christian Liaigre-designed Soho hotel and leans toward maximalism from Studio Sofield, behind the looks at Gucci, Tom Ford, Zero Bond, and Soho Grand.
Portale’s menu focuses on what they’re calling lighter takes on Italian American dishes which includes seasonal ingredients and plating that evokes fine dining. In contrast with its more modern intentions, the menu looks traditional with a retro script listing caviar cannoli; crudo; chicory salad; as well as frito misto and steak tartare among antipasti. Main dishes include pastas such as sausage and broccoli rabe orecchiette, as well as Manila clams with linguine ($26 to $46). There’s a tight selection of steaks such as an eight-ounce filet as well as a 38-ounce tomahawk. The menu also lists chicken Parm and the vegan Mayor’s favorite fish, Dover sole piccata ($36 to $75).
Cocktails focus on classics along with a selection of low- or no-ABV drinks while the wine list leans Italian. Once dinner service is underway, the restaurant will roll out breakfast, weekend brunch, and lunch fare later this summer, overseen by executive chef Chris Lewnes (formerly at American Brass and Augustine).
Culinary director Portale, who defined his career as executive chef of Gotham Bar and Grill for 35 years — where he landed best chef of New York City, outstanding chef, and outstanding restaurant awards from James Beard — will continue to steer his namesake restaurant, Portale, which opened in the Flatiron in 2019.
The partnership between Sartiano and the hotel came about after famed hotelier André Balazs, one of the owners and the longtime face of the Mercer, had been accused of groping multiple women, among other allegations. He is no longer involved with the hotel after Richard Born and Ira Drukier sued to remove him from the business altogether in 2021.
Over a year ago, the New York Times reported that Sartiano would be “helping to reboot” the boutique hotel, where he is also the creative director. In the Times profile of Sartiano, Born said, “We’re only two blocks away from Zero Bond, and the thought of merging his culture at Zero Bond into ours — his Rolodex and his curated community — would be really good for what we are.”
Will the restaurant take on the club vibes of Zero Bond? The short answer is no: “It’s a restaurant that will serve food late,” but it will not be a nightlife spot, Sartiano says. “It’s not like anything I’ve done in the past.”
Sartiano’s is open for dinner only for now: Tuesday and Wednesday from 5 to 11 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 5 to 11:30 p.m.