Founded by the creative team from Luma on Park, Executive Chef Brandon McGlamery and featuring Chef de cuisine Matt Cargo, has brought to life Prato, the new Park Avenue hotspot with a menu that brings out the flavors of Italy with a local flair. The menu here, changing seasonally, celebrates cuisine from Italy’s rich culinary landscape, blending Italian classics with modern techniques and seasonal ingredients.
The ambiance is one of a rustic farmhouse blended with a modern, communal lounge feel, complete with a long u-shaped bar, high ceilings, and large window-paned doors. The waiters here, all attentive and gracious, are dressed in plaid shirts like they just got off the farm – the theme continues. Water is served in half-glass bottles along with complimentary bread. Towards the back of the restaurant is the open kitchen, where patrons sitting back there can see all the action like an episode of one of those reality cooking shows on Bravo. The restaurant is all anchored around two imported Acunto wood-burning ovens from Naples, Italy, lightly touching each baked dish with a signature, smoky finish.
Imported Acunto wood-burning ovens from Naples, Italy
Fresh, creative salads, pizzas, pastas, and entrees dominate the menu, utilizing locally sourced produce, responsibly farmed meats, and sustainable seafood. Start with the red snapper crudo, a refreshing plate of slices of raw red snapper, drizzled with a pistachio-currant vinaigrette and served with sliced radishes. Squash blossoms stuffed with ricotta, roasted chiles, and almonds or roasted butternut squash salads with burrata mozzarella and field greens are all fantastic when in season.
The widowmaker pizza, consisting of fennel sausage, arugula, toscano, romesco sauce, and a local farm egg, over easy, baked in the center. The golden yolk is just perfect for dipping and sharing – which is what I did on several recent visits to Prato with friends. The signature Prato meatballs, available only at dinner (they are served as a sandwich item at lunch), are made and ground in house with veal, pork, beef and a host of other wonderful ingredients and served in a roasted tomato sauce with cippolini onions agrodolce – perfecto.
The pastas, also hand made in house are delightful: ranging from the duck ragu bolognese rigatoni to the laughing bird shrimp ravioli, one of my favorites here. Entree items also include popular dishes like the chicken leg candito served with apricot mostarda and marble potato and the short rib “brasato”, served with soffritto on garlic crostini and topped with a poached farm egg.
Save room for dessert: the chocolate sea salt hazelnut budino pudding and the luscious tiramisu in a jar are surely worth the few extra calories. An extensive bar menu is also available with wines from Spain and Italy, craft beers from Cigar City Brewing, and delicious cocktails like the amalfi sunset, made with limoncello, house grenadine, fresh orange juice and cherries.
Prices are very reasonable for the quality of food that you get, there are even half-order options for those who who desire smaller carb loads.
Prato has a lot of heart and you can feel it vibrating through those wood ovens, the waiters, pizzas, and pastas, in all the ingredients. It’s one of the reasons why I can see myself going back there again and again. It’s probably why a lot of the people who crowd Prato in the weekend evenings do so, too. Make sure to have a reservation if you go.
Red Snapper Crudo, a refreshing plate of slices of raw red snapper, drizzled with a pistachio-currant vinaigrette and served with sliced radishes
Roasted butternut squash salad with burrata mozzarella and field greens
Duck bolognese bigoli pasta
Widowmaker pizza – fennel sausage, arugula, toscano, romesco sauce, and a local farm egg, over easy, baked in the center.
Short rib “brasato”, served with soffritto on garlic crostini and topped with a poached farm egg.
Laughing bird shrimp ravioli
House made Tiramisu in a jar