65 Seat 54th Street
New York, NY 10022
Even though it has been opened since 1994, we just recently sampled Cellini.
Having known owner and Chef Dino Arpaia from his days at Acqua Pazza, one of our favorite former places in Manhattan before he sold it to his sister Donatella Arpaia to open Anthos, it was nice to see him and many of his former Acqua Pazza staff as we entered this somewhat traditional and somewhat old fashion midtown Italian.
While the decor does not have any modern style or perhaps any real design, the place seems to be perpetually packed both at lunch and dinner. So it must be food and service that brings in all the people.
While service is adequate, it is not outstanding. So it must be the food.
Well that is reasonably questionable. While the menu is reasonably comprehensive, the dishes described on the menu do not stand out from hundreds of other Manhattan Italians. And then when the food is presented, it lacks even the sizzle of the menu description. While not bad, and surely not great, the food is more than acceptable but far from outstanding.
So it must be that the whole is greater the sum of the parts. A convivial environment and acceptable decor, a very present and gregarious chef, decent food and service must be the magic formula.
Cellini - Acceptable