I would never have pegged Mario Batali for a morning person. He can stay up later than just about everyone, including me. But, unlike me, he gets up early. “Five am, every day,” he says. When his kids are around, he makes breakfast for them. But he never made it for anyone else. Until now.
At his brand-new New York City restaurant La Sirena, Mario is serving breakfast for the first time. In fact, it’s not a particularly Italian meal. In Italy, people have a cornetto with their espresso and they’re on their way. The one place to eat breakfast is hotels. And La Sirena is in the Maritime Hotel. So Mario, with chef Josh Laurano, has created a wonderful array of hybrid Italian American dishes for his inaugural breakfast menu. There’s Nonna’s fried eggs with bottarga and ricotta; mascarpone pancakes with crumbled amaretti cookies on top (yum); and foccacio Genovese with “a schmear of pesto on top.” (You can, and should, add an egg.) There’s also a gorgeous pastry basket from the supreme pastry chef Michael Laiskonis, with items like stuffed bombolini, raspberry lemon streusel muffins and pane di lato with parmesan and rosemary. Breakfast starts at 7 am, which is a little early for me. Luckily, it’s served until 11.