After traveling the United States, Gianni Andreini decided he was ready to make a change — he wanted to pack up his life in Florence to start a new journey in New York. To make it happen, he teamed up with two Italian friends, Federico Bernocchi and Andrea Soldini, both of whom had been residing in the city for years. Together, the team decided to open Miusa Wine Bar (98/A South 4th Street, Brooklyn; 718-782-2081) in south Williamsburg.
Since arriving in the States, Bernocchi and chef Soldini had been making their way through the city’s restaurant scene. When Andreini expressed interest in making the jump across the pond, the Florentine natives flew back to their hometown to drum up plans for a restaurant concept. “We discussed what was good to do in New York,” says Bernocchi. “Because, for us, America right now has so many good products to give, we wanted to show that. It’s really changed in the last 10 years.”
Soldini, who has worked in some of the world’s best kitchens, including a three-year stint at Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck and apprenticeships at Per Se and Daniel, has created a menu that combines the culinary mindset of Italy with the ethos of his new home in the U.S. With a menu that will change at least four times per year, the eatery is focused on serving items grown, reared, and produced in the United States. The wine list mostly hails from California; the beer list is craft; even the vodka is sourced from within the borders.
The style of fare is New American, “with a touch of Italian,” says Bernocchi. Appetizers are broken down into meat, vegetables, and fish. Expect to see dishes ($9 to $10) like leek and squash soup, and wild striped bass sashimi, watermelon radish, and orange sour cream. Main courses run $12 to $20, and include items like sweet-potato gnocchi with winter mixed mushrooms, bacon, apple, and brussels sprouts, and duck breast with kale, orange, pecan, and glazed pearl onion. Cheese plate options and desserts (think vanilla ice cream sandwiches with chocolate and raspberry sauces) make up the rest of the menu.
Miusa is open for dinner, from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., Sunday through Thursday. It’s open until 4 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. The restaurant also serves breakfast from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday and Sunday, followed by brunch from noon to 4 p.m.