The Top Ten Best New Restaurants: No. 5, January 2014
Sure, you'll find insalate with Sun Gold tomatoes and Little Gem lettuce; black mussels, too, quickened with an aromatic soffritto. But Chi Spacca's reason for being is meat (the name means “he who cleaves”). Chef Chad Colby, who launched the city's first certified salumiprogram, relies on the wood flame of his hearth oven and grill. A side of vinegar-laced baby eggplant plays off the breaded pig's trotter. Wrapped in sliced lardo, the thin bread sticks known as grissini could be the tastiest swizzle sticks you'll ever eat. Pace yourself, though. Commanding the table at this offshoot of Osteria Mozza (next door) are big cuts, like the 42-ounce tomahawk pork chop (checking in at $80), the tender strip of belly attached to a bone that has been rubbed with fennel pollen. Nearby, a wondrous rosemary-and-orange-peel olive oil cake as tall as an Easter Colomba di Pasqua sits on the granite counter.
Mozza's popular salumi bar nights have grown into a full-fledged restaurant. The name means “cleaver” in Italian, and indeed, here meat is celebrated in all its forms. Chad Colby is the chef behind Mozza's meat-curing program, and now his talents are on display in this small open kitchen. The star attraction is still the salumi, which is peerless in the city: 24-month-old prosciutto has a cheddar-like bite; fresh chiles spike a rustic salami. It's not cured, but the grilled 42-ounce tomahawk pork chop is a worthy splurge ($75), and hallelujah for simply prepared vegetables and fish. Wine pairings at $25, $50, and market price make drinking well easy.