Eat and Drink Sexy at Asellina

 Legend has it, that in the ancient city of Pompeii there was a woman named Asellina who ran a tavern/brothel. In present day, Asellina located in the  Gansevoort Park Hotel  is the sexier sister restaurant to the New York establishment STK.

Dark woods, dimly lit candles and a spacious lounge  area are the first things that hit you when you enter Asellina. The atmosphere is not typical Gramercy. With being located in a hotel, there is a smattering of tourists, albeit sophisticated in addition, there is a masculine aura of power brokers and also a smattering of ladies looking for a sponsor. Still, Asellina is a dining establishment that is nice on the eyes.

With a new chef, Andrea Montobbio a native of Northern Italy, Asellina's menu is slowly being revamped. I was privy to a slew of savory appetizers that showed the influence of the chef's native land. The  Margherita pizza was heavy on  cheese light on sauce  and  had a cracker thin crust. The smoky flavored mozzarella, hits all the right notes and portion size was  excellent for sharing. Other menu highlights include  both the  Prosciutto and Boscialo the latter having some of most intensely flavored fontina in the city of New York as well as the deep fried calamari, and the veal and parmesan stuffed Cerignola Olives.

I passed on the specialty cocktails and stuck to a well flavored and pleasing house white wine as to not conflict with the onslaught of food. As I ate, drank and chatted up others in the bar area, the dining room filled up rather quickly with a stylish crowd that had that perfect New York look, of not trying to hard, just trying to have a great meal in a great area.

Recently turning three, Asellina lights a spark in the Gramercy area and gives the Gansevoort Park Hotel an excellent anchor dining establishment. Chef Montobbio  might be  new to the Big Apple but, his menu has the right amount of old favorites. I'm welcoming this hot spot   to my list of  favorite places to dine, Asellina where is the motto is "Happiness Dwells Here."