New York City restaurateur Danny Meyer is celebrated for his successful dining venues Union Square Cafe and 11 Madison Park, as well as the expansion of his quality-driven, mod take on fast food, the Shake Shack. Although admired for his devotion to hospitality, he had yet to tackle a hotel eatery, until his newest establishment, Maialino, opened recently in Ian Schrager’s Gramercy Hotel.
Meyer collaborated with designer David Rockwell on the space to create a welcoming venue that diners would find comforting, delicious, and refined. In that spirit, the food and the name is inspired by a collegiate summer he spent as a tour guide in Rome. Maialino translates to little pig, an affectionate moniker bestowed upon him because of his predilection for the roast suckling pig when visiting trattorias. Maialino also refers to restaurant’s signature suckling pig.
Whereas his other kitchens have taken a distinctly American approach to their cuisine, this one stays true to its Roman roots. Meyer and executive chef Nick Anderer traveled to the source and hit up gems like Checchino dal 1887, Al Moro, and Pierluigi to find the perfect spaghetti alla carbonara or bucatini alla amatriciana. On his end, Rockwell appropriated equally authentic aesthetic details–lots of warm-hued wood, high wainscoting combined with a collection of framed small-scale artwork, and Frette linens. There is a casual bar, which is connected to the main dining salon with an expansive antipasto station, a dessert counter, and at the restaurant’s entrance is a wine-storage and tasting room that holds nearly 200 cases of wine–a most welcoming sight indeed. (212.777.2410)