Address: 25 Cooper Square, New York, NY 10003
Looks like celebrity chef Scott Conant is trying to follow the footsteps of Mario Batali in building modern Italian cuisine empire in the US. With Scarpetta at meatpacking district becoming a big success, the chef opened another Scarpetta restaurant in Miami's Fountainebleau hotel in November 2008, and Faustina restaurant at the swanky cooper union hotel in February this year. By end of this year, he will have his fourth and fifth restaurant set up in Las Vegas.
I don't recall how the decor of table 8 restaurant was like (Faustina took over Chef Govind Armstrong's Table 8 old location) but Faustina was designed as such that it allows people to peek into the restaurant chic interior, showing off its impressive wine cellar and admirable wine collections. The indoor dining room has a rather formal dining feel, while outside patio is more relaxed and looks out to third avenue. The menu was designed for a more conversational based dining experience, with mostly small plate Italian tapas, so the atmosphere should have been more casual to compliment that concept, but it was not. In addition, pricing is critical for tapas concept restaurants but at Faustina, a lot of dishes were too small and too expensive. With that said, there were some good dishes in the Faustina though -- I liked the chef's signature Sea Urchin Maccheroni, the bacon wrapped shrimp was a highlight for us too. But I would prefer to see more of chef Scott Conant's signature pasta on the menu.
Gan had a tough time remembering Faustina when asked about the food there and I had the same problem. There weren't a lot of positive reviews from other diners about Faustina as well. Let's hope chef Scott Conant will not let Faustina share the same fate as fallen Table 8 restaurant.