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July 16, 2009 8:39 AM

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Civetta RistoranteCourtesy of Civetta Ristorante Fans of Sfoglia's critically lauded Italian cuisine, but not its month-long reservation wait or locale on Manhattan's Upper East Side have a new boite to frequent....

Civetta Ristorante
Courtesy of Civetta Ristorante

Fans of Sfoglia's critically lauded Italian cuisine, but not its month-long reservation wait or locale on Manhattan's Upper East Side have a new boite to frequent.


This Friday, Lou Ceruzzi (Sfoglia and Bottega del Vino owner) and K.C. Lam (partner with Ceruzzi in Via Quadronno) will open Civetta Ristorante, nestled on the border of Little Italy and NoLIta.

Taking its name from the Italian word for both owl and coquette, the eatery features a casual dining room with hand-carved, recycled wood cornices; a green-tiled open kitchen and golden
stucco ceilings. Bowls overflowing with fresh oranges and peaches lend a rustic feel and the wait staff sports Earnest Sewn jeans and bib aprons designed by Matt Singer.

The menu, overseen by Sfoglia's executive chef, Ron Suhanosky, includes antipasti like saffron arancini and baby octopus salad; a simple San Marzano and olive oil sauced pasta, and main courses such as grilled sirloin alla pizziaola. Desserts, an extensive wine list and specialty cocktails like the Notte Civetta (or Night Owl) round out the offerings.

And those whose nocturnal activities extend beyond dinnertime can head downstairs to Civetta's basement lounge where a Turkish marble bar, a DJ booth made of a recovered church pulpit and recycled wine jug light fixtures lend a darkly romantic air. Earnest Sewn and designer Victor Glemaud have hosted a dinner there and Orlando Bloom and Erin Wasson have already paid their respects.

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