It’s difficult to miss chef Hillary Sterling captaining the open kitchen at Danny Meyer’s most recent venture, Ci Siamo. The restaurant’s name, which communicates arrival in Italian, translates into Sterling’s bare-bones approach of presenting her kitchen and her ingredients in simple, approachable forms without much ornamentation. Take for example the rabbit stracci; instead of being dressed in ragu, the meat sits in nothing else but white wine broth among pliant folds of wide, housemade pasta, flavored only by salt, cracked pepper, and shaved parmigiano. The rabbit’s tenderness shines through, and the dish’s restraint allows for beverage director Robin Wright to pair it with one of her by-the-glass rosés, De Fermo’s Le Cince, made from cerasuolo d’abruzzo. Bursting with creamy Bing cherries, the wine’s bright and dense fruit finds home in the dish’s simplicity and richness.
Wright, who previously oversaw The NoMad Hotel’s beer program and worked as a sommelier at Daniel, stresses the relative affordability of Ci Siamo’s wine list, with about half of its 500 bottles sold at under $100. In particular, she emphasizes the value of grower Champagnes including Agrapart and Savart: “As a somm, when I go out, I want to drink that stuff, and sometimes you find it’s marked up so high or it’s just not available […] and it’s just so frustrating.” On the Italian side, Wright favors Marco de Bartoli’s Tervazia and Ermes Pavese’s Blanc de Morgex et de la Salle, both made in the metodo classico.
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