When the building you’re occupying in Little Italy was an old firehouse followed by the neighborhood Italian deli in the 1950s, you could say that there are some pretty historic expectations. Not to worry, Gelso & Grand overflows the proverbial shoes they’re filling.Gelso & Grand overflows the proverbial shoes they're filling Click To Tweet
Gelso is Italian for ‘mulberry,’ which explains the restaurant’s name perfectly as it’s located at the corner of Mulberry and Grand in Little Italy. Decorated with reclaimed antiques from local markets, the restaurant feels like it’s been open for ages, but is also unmistakably modern. Liza, the adorable manager on duty, seated me at a lovely old table that looked like it had been used as a sewing machine table previously. Whatever it used to be, it was elegant to dine off of now. Looking around the room, it’s hard to miss the giant green vines on the back wall. I was surprised and amused when Liza told me they’re actually real and had been injected with a chemical that keeps the leaves stiff and essentially frozen. Between the vines, rustic fixtures, and the colorful cans of tomatoes stacked above the kitchen, G&G understands how to create a simple yet unique atmosphere.
There’s no doubt that the food here is the star of the show and it’s a creative blend of classic Italian with modern ingredients. All pastas are made fresh in-house and it’s the simple combination of ingredients that makes Gelso & Grand truly shine. When I finally stopped admiring the decor and thinking about how comfortable I was at my quaint little table, I put together the perfect NYC lunch with the help of Liza and my attentive server, Alex.
Luxitality’s 4 Favorite Menu Items
Cocktails: The Mulberry Spritz
Lemongrass infused aperol, prosecco and fresh orange make this a refreshing drink that would be ideal for a summer day. It worked great on a snowy one, but drinking one of these on the patio outside in summer? Sign me up.
Appetizer: The Ricotta Bruschetta
Simplicity is key and that’s what made this bruschetta steal my heart. Ricotta, honey, and black pepper—that’s it. And that’s all you need. The ricotta was silky smooth and the bread was perfectly toasted and buttered. Pure heaven.
Entree: Fettuccine Bolognese
Know how you think you know what good Italian is? And how in Little Italy you think you get good Italian from the old haunts that have been there forever? Coming from someone who tried the classics at other spots in the neighborhood—sorry, Little Italy—you’ve been bested by the new guy. Gelso and Grand’s fettuccine bolognese was amazing. The noodles were made fresh and had the perfect texture. The sauce was clean and the meat well-seasoned. The pasta was drizzled with parmesan fonduta sauce (aka-more cheese). Liza told me she’d heard somewhere that ‘fonduta’ meant ‘you’ll love this’ in Italian lingo, and she was right.
Dessert: Quince Semifreddo.
Bonus addition: House Latte
I was full at this point, but being someone not prone to giving up easily, Liza recommended I try the Quince Semifreddo, as a lighter alternative to the tiramisu. Pair that with a latte made from La Colombe coffee and you’ve just completed a meal made in heaven.
Gelso & Grand delivered a modern Italian experience in a beautiful environment that made me long to linger all day. The staff were lovely, the food even lovelier, and the whole experience left me feeling happier than when I walked in the door. I hear they may be putting a Chef’s Table experience in the space downstairs though, so that gives me yet another reason to return.
Gelso & Grand. 186 Grand St, New York, NY 10013. (212) 226-1600
FTC Disclaimer: This article contains sponsored links from Gelso & Grand. Opinions expressed herein belong to the author.