Dale Talde, David Massoni and John Bush (otherwise known as “the Three Kings”) may be newly stationed in Manhattan, but they’ve brought their harum-scarum Brooklyn attitude with them.
Charged with eventually opening three spots within NoMad’s Arlo hotel (as well as providing early morning and late night eats for the “bodega” in the lobby), they’ve kicked things off with a giddily inauthentic Italian bistro, Massoni; where they take as many liberties with the cuisine as they do Asian fare (think pork pretzel potstickers and oyster-bacon pad thai) at their flagship Park Slope restaurant, Talde.
One need only to take a bite of cannoli — either crafted from wonton wrappers and stuffed with beef tartare as an appetizer, or padded with deconstructed Snickers bars as dessert — to know it isn’t spaghetti and meatballs as usual (or at least, not exclusively) at Massoni. Equally inspired by Italy and the culinary melting pot of NYC — which is namechecked on the cocktail list, with tipples titled “Wakefield,” “Stillwell” and “Forest Hills” — starters run the gamut from Biryani Rice Balls with cool ranch raita, to a Tuscan Kale Salad with persimmon, peanuts and smoked saba-nuoc mam, to Fried Calamari, dragged through puddles of pastrami-spiced aioli.
Pasta seems positively tame by comparison, featuring Campanelle lapped in octopus puttanesca, and Mafalde soaked in smoked onion dashi, but the team is none too precious with pizza; referencing Pizza Hut as their overriding influence, rather than New York or Rome. The thick, cheesy squares boast toppings like buffalo chicken, as well as pepperoni, pickled peppers and honey, mushroom, french onion mascarpone and smoked mozzarella, and sweet fennel sausage and tomato, sided with squirt bottles of (what else) ranch dressing.
Precisely what one craves after one too many “Wakefield’s,” and a wild night in NYC with the boisterous Three Kings.
Massoni at the Arlo Hotel
11 E 31st St