eat it

eat it: il matto

Welcome to Il Matto. Translation: the Madman-- and it suits its moniker with flair. Recently opened by Chef Matteo Boglione, Il Matto is a fresh mix of art gallery, Italian eatery and mad tea party. An overall sterile atmostphere is broken up with pops of color and whimsical furniture. A giant painting depicting the owner as an octopus and teacup-shaped booths that spin around the table contribute to the restaurant's daring decor.

The menu offers creative dishes such as black squid ink gnocchi with crabmeat ragout topped with fried zucchini blossom and black olive crusted sea scallop, grilled porcini mushroom, yellow beets and almond milk foam. The parmigiana style zucchini with smoked mozzarella appetizer was fabulous as well.

The cocktail menu, divided into "salty" and "sweet", offers up bizarre libation ingredients like worcestershire sauce, pickled cucumber, pink peppercorn, ricotta cheese, lettuce, and balsamic reduction. An admittedly less-adventurous option on the menu, the Rosso Tiziano (rum, lemon juice, sugar, raspberry, and tomato) was more my speed, and very tasty.

Not to be missed is their creme brulee. Split it if you must, but it's delicious (you'll wish you ordered your own).

Located in the heart of TriBeCa at 281 Church Street, Il Matto is open for dinner daily from 4:30-10:30p, staying open an hour later on Friday and Saturday. Reservations can be made online at Open Table, or by calling (212) 226-1607.