La Sirena is Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich’s first new restaurant to open in New York in nearly a decade. A week ago, Guest of a Guest and Cointreau invited attendees to celebrate summer in the recently opened outdoor rooftop space of the new restaurant. Cointreau cocktails and extravagant Italian hors d’oeuvres were everywhere. My first thought as I entered the party was, “I’ve died and gone to food heaven!”
As soon as I walked into the room, I felt like I was immersed in the essence of summer. Strings of exposed light bulbs hung between the white trellis-like walls and guests placed their citrusy cocktails on tables beside vases of red and orange bouquets.
Guests could choose one of Cointreau’s signature Rickeys, including a Pink Peppercorn Rickey created by Mario Batali himself, or they could create their own Rickey by choosing from an array of fresh ingredients on the Cointreau’s DIY Rickey Bar.
Waiters were constantly offering new and different foods to sample, which was great because I doubt anyone could stop at just one. One waitress came by with a specialty of La Sirena, Cocoa Caramels with Gold Leaf, and at my eagerness to try it, she smiled and said, “No one can resist the sweets.” Oh, how right she was!
This new venture of Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich is a little different than their other restaurants. The menu is not specific to any one area or any one specific type of Italian cuisine. It is a broader menu, and the restaurant is a modern version of an upscale Italian trattoria. The menu offers antipasti, pasta, meats, and seafood. Some of the dishes are even prepared with a mind toward sharing, such as the New York Strip Steak for two and a tasting of two pastas for the table.
The restaurant is also unique because of the large outdoor space available to diners during the warmer months. It was the perfect setting for this summer soiree. We could mix and mingle on the warm summer evening and enjoy the fresh air as we sampled the food and drink. The evening was a perfect way to celebrate the beginning of summer.