What To Do In Dumbo, Brooklyn
Dining’s Changing Scene Showcases New Spaces & Hip Destinations
For Cipriani, a father of two young children, family life is priority as are meals at home. Still, restaurants are in is his blood. In addition to Bellini (33 Peck Slip; +1-929-263-0413), Mr. C Seaport’s on-site restaurant, which is a boon to a growing residential population that appreciates fine dining as well as to hotel guests, Ignazio has wide-ranging restaurant suggestions in the area that includes Manhattan’s financial district and Brooklyn. Near the Oculus at the World Trade Center is Nobu Downtown (195 Broadway; +1-212-219-0500), the inventive Japanese restaurant by chef Nobu Matsuhisa, renowned for dishes such as black miso cod and yellowtail sashimi with jalapeño. After more than 23 years in the city’s TriBeCa district, Nobu moved in 2017 from its location to downtown Manhattan’s new crossroads. Designed by David Rockwell, the lounge and bar occupies part of the magnificent lobby of a landmark building, originally built as the headquarters of AT&T. Downstairs, the spacious dining room, whose walls are embellished with river stones, has a sushi bar that extends in front of the sparkling open kitchen.
The dining room at Nobu Downtown. Photo courtesy of Eric Laignel.
On weekends, Cipriani is drawn to the other side of the East River, to Brooklyn and, in particular, to DUMBO. Cecconi’s (55 Water St., Brooklyn; +1-718-650-3900), whose flagship restaurant is in London’s Mayfair, has a prime spot in the Empire Stores complex, a former 1860’s warehouse for import-and-export goods, like sugar, molasses, palm oil, wool, and rubber. The extensive terrace with waterfront views of the Manhattan skyline and the restaurant’s brick-walled dining room reflects the building’s past use, and today is a setting of vibrant amiability. The menu features cicchetti, Venetian-style tapas plates of pasta, risotto, as well as pizza—from mozzarella, tomato, and basil to zucchini blossom, goat cheese, and black truffle. Main dishes include branzino with spinach and veal Milanese.
At DUMBO’s Empire Stores, shoppers find a handsome, generously-sized shop for Shinola (49 Water St., Brooklyn; +1-929-395-0099), the American manufacturer of fine watches, leather goods, and bicycles. It accommodates a Smile To Go café, with coffee drinks for needed pick-me-ups. The J.Crew Men’s Shop (55 Water St., Space F, Brooklyn; +1-718-222-2904) carries Ludlow suits, locally-made accessories and gifts, and provides special services on premises like haircuts and shaves at Fellow Barber.
Back in Manhattan, Bar Pitti (268 Sixth Ave.; +1-212-982-3300) in the West Village, figures on Ignazio Cipriani’s short list, too. The abidingly popular restaurant of the art and fashion worlds is renowned for a chalkboard menu featuring Italian fare—ravioli with butter sauce and sage, tagliatelle with boar ragù—and for its generous outdoor café space. In fall and spring, there are few spots more redolent of the changing seasons.