Even if you happen to be one yourself…
Introducing Locanda Verde, the much-buzzed new Italian tavern rising from the ashes of Ago, brought to you by little-known thespian Robert De Niro and his crack team of vets: Ken Friedman (the Spotted Pig, John Dory), chef Andrew Carmellini (A Voce) and pastry chef Karen DeMasco (Craft), opening tomorrow in Tribeca.
Let's forget about the boldface names for a minute—Locanda, while occupying the same space as Ago, and playing in the same sandbox as Ago (Italian food), just feels different from its California-bred predecessor. Walking in, you'll be immersed in a warm, local tavern: earthy brown and green colors, old Italian cookbooks on the shelves, sexy, low lights casting a glow and a brick oven rounding out the polished/rustic vibe.
And the large, varied Italian menu fits the scene: drop by for Sunday night ragu, some Wood Fired Broccoli Rabe Sausage or a Fire-Roasted Garlic Chicken when you're looking for a lazy, home-style meal and a few glasses of Barolo.
To keep things more intimate, they're even cutting off the back room strictly for family-style private dining, and marking off the front section and outdoor seating as the café, where Karen will set up her pastry empire, cooking up sugary goodness served on antique cake trays and morning treats like Parmesan scones.
And you thought Bobby D couldn't be sweet.