Laurent Tourondel Opens L’Amico in New York City
After years of planning, recipe testing, and team building, Chef Laurent Tourondel opens his latest restaurant, L’Amico, in New York City. L’Amico, translating to “friend” in Italian, features an American menu with Italian influences, inspired by Tourondel’s upbringing in the European countryside.
“This is the kind of food I love—its the food I grew up eating,” Tourondel says. “I am excited to share this style of cooking with my guests and with this great emerging neighborhood in Chelsea. I’ve been waiting years to cook with these beautiful wood-burning ovens and L’Amico is the perfect place to showcase this rustic, hearth-based cooking I enjoyed with my family many years ago.”
Honoring the food of his past and present—a childhood spent enjoying long Sunday suppers with his maternal, Italian grandmother, and a career spent putting his stamp on American stalwarts—L’Amico reflects Tourondel’s rich taste memories and appreciation for bold ingredients prepared with precise technique.
The restaurant’s diverse menu features his take on American favorites, including wood-fired pizza like the White Mushroom with truffle paste, fontina, taleggio, and sage; and Esposito’s Sausage with panna, shishito, and fennel pollen, made with Tourondel’s pizza dough recipe that he spent over five years perfecting. Freshly extruded, seasonal pasta dishes such as Fusilli with spicy sausage, bitter greens, pine nuts, chiles, and pecorino, are preceded by starters including Baked Octopus, served with crushed fingerling potatoes, capers, and pickled celery; and Yellowtail with grated lime, orange confit, and sea salt. L’Amico’s seafood and protein offerings showcase Tourondel’s classic training through dishes like the Roasted Orata with Calabrian chili verde, while Skirt Steak served with charred cauliflower, Calabrian chili and almonds showcase his finesse with beef. A selection of seasonally rotating side dishes and vegetables, many of which are wood-fired deep in the hearths of the ovens, round out the experience.
Desserts—Tourondel’s first professional discipline—include a selection of house-made gelato, including flavors like Black Cherry Amaretto and Lemon Ricotta. Signature sweet confections like Amaretto Cake made with latte dolce, and Chocolate Budino with hazelnut caramel and cinnamon milk gelato, are also available .
L’Amico’s beverage selections, designed by Yana Volfson [Cosme] and Katie Stipe [Grand Army], and overseen by Tourondel, have been curated to complement his menu. A mix of Italian and American flavor profiles dominate the drink menu in cocktails like the Brooklyn Bound with Rittenhouse Rye, Carpano Punt e Mes, Ramazzotti Amaro, and star anise infused Luxardo Maraschino; as well as the Miellissimo with Plymouth Gin, Marolo Camomile Grappa, lemon, honey, egg white, and Absinthe. The beverage program also focuses on the region with a wine list highlighting Italian grapes, including varietals like Erbaluce, Nerello Mascalese, and Nebbiolo, available by the glass or bottle. The seasoned team has assembled a list of Italian and European beer to complete the beverage offerings.
Visible to passersby on Sixth Avenue through the restaurant’s floor-to-ceiling windows and throughout the dining room, L’Amico’s open kitchen layout is replete with twin copper-clad wood-burning ovens, Berkel 330M slicers, and a subway tile backsplash. Inspired by the simplicity of a stroll through the countryside, Brooklyn-based Crème designed L’Amico as an escape from the bustling city outside. The space draws on the warmth of rustic, reclaimed wood [from the table tops to the recreated Windsor-form custom chairs in a walnut finish]. An installment by Ruby Sky Stiler adorns the western facing wall, greeting guests upon entry, while fixtures made from a variety of mixed metals also decorate the space. A nine-seat bar allows diners to enjoy a more intimate meal, while the 90-seat dining room accommodates parties of all sizes.