The Torrisi brothers newest addition to the NYC scene is Santina, a kitschy Coastal Italian restaurant located under the entrance to the Highline.  I've always said one of my favorite things about living in NYC is the ability to feel miles away by just entering a different restaurant or bar.  When I'm feeling French countryside I head to Bouley, Sakagura for Japan and now Santina, for when I feel like being on some sort of bizarre Italian cruise ship.

There's palm trees, orange trees and glass chandeliers...loud cha cha music playing overhead and men dressed in pastel cabin outfits pouring cocktails to the fashion elite crowd.  It's just bizarre...but also kind of fun.  After my initial shock I kind of got into the whole crazy atmosphere beginning with the house specialty Cecina.

This enormous chickpea-flour pancake arrived in a cast iron skillet to be rolled into Italian style tacos.  I chose the Calabrian Tuna as my filling, a spicy blend of tuna tartare, tomato and chilies.

I absolutely loved the heat from this dish and became a bit obsessed with the incredible salsa verde on the side.  Just be sure to eat the pancake quick, the crunchy exterior quickly fades as the pan cools down.

I skipped entrees in favor of the Squash Carpaccio appetizer, sliced incredibly thin and covered in butter, honey and toasted pumpkin seeds.  This was simply an outstanding vegetarian dish.

For dessert a tiny trio of fresh fried Cannoli's in pistachio, coconut and cherry.  I would make a return trip just for the crisp cherry cream cigar alone.

So it's a bit quirky and bizarre but also delicious and fun.  It's my new crazy Italian cruise getaway.

820 Washington Street @Gansevoort
New York, NY 10014