NEW YORK, Aug. 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- As summer winds down, Morgans Hotel Group Co. (NASDAQ: MHGC) has launched a new, coastal Italian restaurant aptly named Isola Trattoria & Crudo Bar at Mondrian SoHo, opening August 3. The restaurant's food and ambience are both inspired by the Amalfi Coast, Italian Riviera and Sicily, and with a native Sicilian at the helm, Executive Chef Victor LaPlaca, the region is reflected in every bite. Capturing the spirit of these Italian provinces, Isola serves high quality, seasonal ingredients, prepared simply and presented with casual elegance within Mondrian SoHo's 5,000-square-foot greenhouse space.
Isola's regional Italian menu and contemporary crudo offerings feature market-fresh and locally sourced ingredients, prepared by Chef LaPlaca in collaboration with Morgans Hotel Group's Executive Chef and seafood specialist, Steve Paterson ( Joel Robuchon, Michael Mina). LaPlaca, a native of Sicily, grew up cooking home-style cuisine and preparing food using ingredients plucked from his very own property. He has spent the last 17 years opening restaurants with Todd English, both domestically and internationally, embracing the same farm-to-table approach he cultivated as a young cook, while honing in on his love for Mediterranean cuisine. At Isola, this is most evident through LaPlaca's signature selection of crudos, where he pairs the freshest fish available with high quality olive oils, salts, seasonal fruits and citrus.
Isola's crudo offerings include Tuna with White Balsamic, Jalapeno, Watermelon and Pine Nuts; Snapper with Cantaloupe, Fuji Apple and Pickled Red Chile; Hamachi with Salsa Verde, Avocado and Crispy Shallot Shallot; and Fluke With Meyer Lemon, Radish and EVOO. Signatures off Isola's trattoria menu will include Cuscinetto with Goat Cheese and Black Olive, Baby Heirloom Tomatoes and Mint; Burrata Pizza with Squash Blossom Pesto and Roasted Tomato; Dry-aged Maremma Steak on the Bone with Creamy Mushroom Polenta and Truffled Lardo; and Branzino with Braised Escarole and Limoncello Sauce.The design team at Morgans Hotel Group drew inspiration for the restaurant space from the famously lush landscape of the Boboli Gardens in Florence and the private Italian estates that line the country's coast. An iron-framed entrance with an outdoor garden, wooden benches and a two-seat porch swing leads guests to the greenhouse restaurant space. Chandeliers and an oversized glass sculpture crafted by contemporary artist Beth Lipman suspend over the dining room's high-top communal tables, which are made of dark wood paired with plush leather seats. The restaurant's glass walls and roof juxtapose the opulence of the hanging crystal features, creating an enchanting evening environment. The 11-seat zinc-top bar has a functional wine display including a library-style ladder where the bartenders can be seen climbing to pull bottles for guests. The beverage program at Isola was curated by Steve Olson, one of the world's foremost spirits experts. Olson compiled an extensive but highly selective list of 36 wines by the glass from Coastal Italy, Sicily, Greece, Spain, and Southern France, as well as over 100 selections by the bottle. With several rare and reasonably priced options by the glass, guests will be able to sample many flavors and regions along their culinary journey. Olson's cocktail program is anchored by a rotating selection of market fresh cocktails. Isola is proud to offer traditional Mediterranean sweet vermouth on draft along with multiple interpretations of the Negroni and Aperol Spritzer. Signature cocktails include the Frizzante di Ciliegie with Prosecco, Del Maguey Crema de Mezcal, Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur, Fresh Cherries and Lemon and the Isola Bellini made with Prosecco, White Peach and Raspberry. The well-selected beer list will feature American micros from local New York breweries and European craft-brews served in short, chilled Mediterranean style beer glasses known as Cañas. Isola will also offer non-alcoholic daily pressed juices from Liquiteria. Isola Trattoria & Crudo Bar at Mondrian SoHo, located at 9 Crosby Street, opens Friday, August 3. For more information please visit http://isolasoho.com/ or call 212.389.0000 for reservations for parties of 6 or more. ABOUT ISOLA TRATTORIA & CRUDO BAR Hours of Operation: Breakfast: Everyday: 7:00am - 10:30am; Lunch: Everyday: 11:30am - 2:30pm; Dinner: Sunday & Monday: 5:30pm - 11:00pm, Tuesday & Wednesday: 5:30pm - 12:00am, Thursday - Saturday: 5:30pm - 1:00am.