The Upper East Side has a new destination for authentic focaccia, fresh pasta and strong Italian coffee brews. Dubbed ‘da Adriano,’ the eponymous Italian eatery located at 1198 First Avenue, between East 64th and 65th Streets, is a triple threat, says chef and owner Adriano Kercuku, serving as a cafe, focacceria and bottega, a unique concept for Lenox Hill.
“It was missing something like this, especially in this area,” explained Chef Adriano in an interview with Upper East Site.
Gracing the culinary scene for almost two decades, Chef Adriano says he has developed masterful techniques and gained exposure to high-quality ingredients across Europe and the United States. Kercuku also spent five years with the Sant Ambroeus Hospitality Group, serving as executive chef at Felice 64, just one block south of da Adriano on First Avenue.
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As an alternative to the well-trodden fine dining route, Chef Adriano has forged his own path, creating a space where customers could go and feel at home.
The 19 seats that occupy the bottega’s interior allow for a greater degree of intimacy. Five wooden tables and chairs covered in cushioned red fabric line the cafe’s walls providing ample seating, while a countertop accompanied by bar stools overlooks First Avenue.
“Da Adriano is a typical Italian bottega where you can go in to have some nice food, like homemade pasta or fresh focaccia and a glass of wine,” said the Florence native, whose top priority is delivering his customers quality eats and drinks, “It’s how we usually do [it] in Italy.”
The faint scent of fresh brew lingering within the cafe’s walls is none other than Trucillo, a premier Italian espresso straight from the motherland — coffee options on the curated menu range from macchiatos to lattes and cappuccinos.
Chef Adriano prepares traditional pasta dishes like Cacio e Pepe and Rigatoni al Pomodoro in-house. One entree is particularly difficult to find elsewhere.
Unique to Tuscany, La Chiantigana di Adriano is a cocoa nib cavatelli combined with slow-cooked braised beef tossed in tomato sauce to create a pleasing acidic balance on the palate.
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Perfectly crisp focaccia is baked throughout the day and served six ways. You can try it stuffed with ingredients like prosciutto or heirloom tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella.
“We make everything with passion and love,” Chef Adriano assures his customers.
That passion is felt beyond the food as da Adriano’s staff exudes hospitality from the moment you walk through the door.
“I have to be a really good example for my staff,” said Chef Adriano, “I have to share the kind of energy and show them what I am looking for and what we can offer to the people.”
Da Adriano is open from daily 7:30 am to 6:00 pm. Once the bottega receives a license to serve wine, it will be open until 10:30 pm.
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