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San Sabino, From the Don Angie Team, Opens in the West Village

Seven years after opening the doors to Don Angie in the West Village, husband-and-wife chef team Angie Rito and Scott Tacinelli are introducing a new coveted reservation: San Sabino.

“We’re very lucky that Don Angie has been so successful, and still after six years there’s people waiting every day to get into the restaurant,” Rito says from the private dining room at Don Angie. It’s a few hours before a busy-as-always dinner service, and the room is scented with the comforting mix of bread and tomatoes wafting up from the kitchen. “We definitely know it doesn’t happen all the time with restaurants, so we’re hoping that this is the same.”

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She and Tacinelli are a few weeks out from opening San Sabino, only a quick walk away. The restaurant, named for Tacinelli’s grandfather, is located on the same block of Greenwich Avenue as Don Angie, at the corner of Jane Street.

“Having something become available right next door is really what gave us the nudge to do it,” says Rito of deciding to branch out from Don Angie, adding that the proximity allows her and Tacinelli to maintain a physical presence at both restaurants, which they co-own with Michael Stillman of Quality Branded. “We’re so hands on and we really like to be around. This seemed to be the best of both worlds. We can basically be in two places at once.”

Stuffed farfalle
Stuffed farfalle

The menu at San Sabino reflects their take on modern Italian American cuisine with a seafood focus. But rather than look abroad for inspiration, their approach is rooted Stateside. San Sabino is coastal Italian American cuisine — emphasis on American coasts. The duo were inspired by locales with Italian immigrant communities including New Orleans, which has a sizable Sicilian population, San Francisco, New Jersey and New York.

“We have the utmost respect for Italian cuisine. The reason it’s so great is because they preserve their tradition so much and they don’t deviate from tradition, but I think what we do is the opposite of that,” Rito says. “We take a lot of liberties with ingredients,” she continues. “The main goal is to make stuff that tastes good, but is fun and exciting and a different perspective.”

Similar to Don Angie, the team takes a playful and rule-breaking approach to the menu. Dishes include head-on shrimp parm in a spicy arrabbiata sauce, and a “deconstructed” take on lobster ravioli, served in a white vodka sauce and which reveals its color upon first bite. All pastas — triangoli, farfalle, ziti — are made in-house daily. The raw and chilled section features crab and mortadella dip with pistachio and feta, served with red pepper jelly, and octopus carpaccio. Main dishes include a katsu-style steak with anchovies, a take on a dish that Rito and Tacinelli encountered during a trip to Florence.

There are similar homages to beloved meals throughout the menu: a chicken savoy dish is inspired by an old-school Italian American restaurant in New Jersey, and one of the cocktails, The Benny, is a prickly pear margarita served in a cactus-stem glass, a nod to the space’s longtime former tenant, Benny’s Burritos.

Rito also spearheads the dessert program, a continuation of a family legacy — her grandfather founded a bakery in Cleveland after he immigrated from Sicily. “I was never really super into baking because it requires so much rule following,” says Rito, adding that she embraced the challenge and created three desserts for San Sabino.

The 55-seat dining room, enveloped by windows, was designed in collaboration with GRT Architects. Decor veers retro, with cheery yellow walls and a tiled bar. Lighting fixtures were configured to bathe the space in an all-day glow; the restaurant will eventually be open for lunch service as well as dinner.

“We want people to be comfortable,” Rito says. “The whole idea of dining out is to have fun and relax.”

Selections from the San Sabino menu.
Selections from the San Sabino menu.

Launch Gallery: Inside San Sabino, a New Restaurant from the Don Angie Team

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