Stecchino is a new reataurant that opened toward the beginning of November in Hell’s Kitchen (over on 9th Ave. between 52st and 53nd). A second venture by the owners of nearby Chelsea Grill (down 9th Ave. between 47th & 46th), Stecchino presents a solid drink menu – with mixed drinks worthy of a stand alone speakeasy style bar -, a good selection of Italian dishes with a strong showing in the meat section, and good prices considering the type and style of the restaurant.
I ordered the cornish game hen which came with broccoli rabe over a cream sauce. This dish was definitely a star for me. The cream sauce melded sweamlessly with the perfectly cooked hen and the broccoli provided a decent crunch and added tecture. The one point that could be good for them to work on is how the broccoli was prepared. I found mine a tad bitter tasting. Possibly blanching it beforehand would help with the color too.
A. ordered the Cioppino – a seafood stew in a tomato broth. This is the same as Frutti di Mare (Fruits of the Sea) basically that you would find in a number of tratoria in Italy. The portions of lobster, calamari, clams and mussels were generous and the stew was also not that spicy – which is good. It was also a pretty generous portion.
On the down notes of the place: the waitstaff was definitely over tentative and seemed overly self conscious. Due in part to the crazy graphic layout of the menu – yeah, I get that they want to offer a lot of variety and offer small plates Italian/American bistro themed, but the layout was just hard to decipher – it took us a while to decide what to get. Instead of allowing us time to decide, the waitress was too overeager to come over and see if our order was ready to be taken. It was pretty empty in there that night and the tables next to us were empty so it didn’t seem to be a desire to quickly turn the tables so the next couple of diners could be seated; it seemed to be a more general unease that comes with inexperience. Minor issue though and definitely not a deal breaker.
This place seems like it should be on the way up. Its well located. Offers something that you can’t find elsewhere in Hell’s Kitchen dining/bars. And it offers decent prices. Plus the drinks were amazing! Definitely worth trying – and a good place to meet a or co-worker for drinks or a meal after work.
765 9th Ave. (btwn. 51st & 52nd)
New York, NY 10019