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A burger smothered in American cheese on a brioche bun in the foreground.
The burger at Cecchi’s, with a pickled tomato on top.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

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Manhattan’s Newest Supper Club Serves One of the Best Burgers in Town

Beyond the burger, it’s American bistro fare in a storied space at Cecchi’s in the Village

Café Loup met its untimely end when it was seized by the city’s tax authorities in 2019. Since 1977 it had been a lively hang for literary celebrities. I remember the black-and-white photos that lined the walls — including Brassai, chronicler of Paris nightlife; the photos created a time bridge between 1940s Paris and 1980s New York. Now, jumping ahead 40 years, the space has been reborn as Cecchi’s, at 105 W. 13th Street, near Sixth Avenue in Greenwich Village, flaunting whimsical nightlife murals by Puerto Rican artist Jean-Pierre Villafañe, once again making a visual connection with days of bistros past.

Dancing figures in dunce caps in red and black.
Jean-Pierre Villafane’s murals are all over Cecchi’s, this one in the front room.

Cecchi’s, which opened a couple of months ago, is named after owner and longtime maître d’, Michael Cecchi-Azzolina — who has noted the front-of-the-house gig is a “lost art form.” In the position at various restaurants for over 35 years, he worked at River Cafe, Raoul’s, Minetta Tavern, and Le Coucou. He also wrote the restaurant-service chronicle, Your Table Is Ready.

Cecchi’s channels bistros like Elaine’s and La Gauloise as well as Café Loup itself — its wicker-backed chairs have been retained — while swapping French food for predominantly American fare.

A plain wide storefront offers little hint as to what’s inside.
The distinctive green awning of Cecchi’s.
A yellowish room filled with diners.
Cecchi’s cultivates a supper club atmosphere.

The deep restaurant retains the floor plan of its predecessor — not so much a collection of rooms as a series of niches and alcoves, including green upholstered booths that can accommodate a large spread of dishes, and smaller tables in the middle that can’t. The lighting is effective in creating a supper club atmosphere that makes everyone feel like a regular.

On the menu, there are dishes like chicken a la king ($32), an American classic — which has roots in an 18th century French soup — that’s reverently turned out in the hands of chef Cesar Balderas. A puff pastry serves as a jaunty beret, the profuse vegetables are perfectly cooked, and the white sauce is a refined bechamel. Yes, it’s a chicken pot pie, enjoyably mellow but not the first thing I’d advise you to order at Cecchi’s.

If you’re looking for other dishes that recall mid-century America, there’s the deconstructed shrimp cocktail, the excellent onion rings that the chef has been tinkering with, or the “not a wedge salad” ($18), that’s, in fact, a chopped salad. This last features a chock of iceberg lettuce with Thousand Island dressing, sharply flavored with bacon and blue cheese.

Three dishes in bowls on a white surface.
Cecchi’s apps: shrimp cocktail, olives and toast, heirloom tomato salad.

For something more delicious and lighter than that chopped salad, the heirloom tomato salad at Cecchi’s is perfect: Supremely ripe specimens in a variety of colors, with white cucumber and spring onions for verdant flavor and crunch. The tomato water in the bottom of the bowl is the best part: drink it in spite of the disapproving looks you may get from surrounding tables.

There are eight entrees total, five of which involve red meat, plus the occasional pricey steak special, which was a humongous $150 ribeye on a recent visit. Though the striped bass served in corn sauce was very good, my favorite dish at Cecchi’s was a big succulent pork chop ($39), served sliced with fingerlings, broccolini, and a sweet mustard glaze, leaving mustard seeds dotting the meat.

In another bistro dish, a hanger steak, cooked accurately, was served with a nest of fries, which on one occasion, should have been served warmer. And while a big burger doesn’t necessarily belong on bistro menus that strive to be French, here the burger is entirely apropos.

A plank of fish on top of some broccolini in a bowl.
Striped bass entree at Cecchi’s.

Cecchi’s burger ($30) dares to layer a thick meat patty oozing juices with American cheese and plenty of it, and thin slices of pickled green tomato, which you may learn to crave as a substitute for pickle chips. (Don’t worry, there’s a pickle spear on the side.) It’s one of the best burgers in town, and makes a nice one-plate meal.

Red strawberries cut in half interlaced with whipped cream.
Cecchi’s strawberry shortcake.

As far as cocktails go — if you don’t take advantage of Cecchi’s happy-hour special of a dry martini and French fries ($25) — head for the classics that form the heart of the cocktail list, which includes the gin rickey and a harvey wallbanger. Individual glasses of wine cost as little as $15, including a dry riesling from the Finger Lakes, rose Chinon from the Loire Valley, and zinfandel from California’s Central Valley.

During my visits there was only one dessert: a biscuit-based strawberry shortcake with straggly clouds of whipped cream. I was hoping for banana cream pie, but with desserts disappearing from many restaurant menus, I was happy with the shortcake.


105 West 13th Street, Manhattan, NY 10011 (212) 931-6335 Visit Website

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