Food-sharers, rejoice: Yet another Todd English vet has left the nest, expanding our city’s small-plate repertoire even more. A native Sicilian, chef Victor LaPlaca recently transformed the Mondrian Soho’s greenhouse-like restaurant space into a Florentine courtyard with his new Isola Trattoria & Crudo Bar.
Tucked away at the secluded end of Crosby Street, the space’s ivy-covered walls, stone floors and open-air atmosphere make far more sense as this casual, family-style spot, opposed to its stark, ocean-inspired predecessor, Imperial No. 9. And the food? A vast improvement.
Being at a coastal-focused crudo bar, we naturally had to try the tuna first. Served on slices of watermelon and topped with jalapeño ($18), it made for a refreshing starter to the warm comfort foods on deck.
Next up was a bowl of handmade bucatini pasta, tossed with a peppery combination of fennel sausage, crab and spring peas ($26). But the highlight of our meal had to be the Burrata pizza ($18)--which you should just get up and go eat this very second. Roasted tomatoes, squash-blossom pesto and the famously creamy cheese all melt together atop a thin crust, and as much as we encourage food sharing, this one is nearly impossible to part with.
9 Crosby St. (between Howard and Grand sts.); 212-389-0000 or isolasoho.com