Some have called this new restaurant “the Miracle on 34th Street.” They are right! Fashioned from a former storage area in Macy’s sixth-floor bedding department, Stella 34 is the first sophisticated restaurant in this part of town. Dine in comfort and style at tables near the open kitchen or the floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Empire State Building. The understated décor is enhanced with Robert Risko’s celebrity caricatures including Macy’s founder Rowland H. Macy, Sr.
Chef Jarett Appell, who trained in Italy, oversees this Neapolitan trattoria with three wood-burning ovens—not only for baking the signature pizzas, but for many of the classic dishes. Linquine alle Vongole may be the best anywhere. Here this beloved pasta dish of clams, garlic, and olive oil has an extra something, a subtle lemony essence. Another terrific fish and pasta dish—all pasta is made in-house—is the Strozzapreti con Seppie, twisted cuttlefish ink pasta in a spicy red pepper sauce dusted with bread crumbs. The very tender and tasty Polipetto—baby octopus—is cocooned with escarole, potato, and spicy Romesco sauce. Try the meltingly wonderful white Patate pizza with pancetta, spicy pickled peppers, taleggio and pecorino-romano. An especially good dessert is the Delizia al Limone, a take on lemon meringue pie, with lemon Genovese, cornmeal pastry, and lemon curd gelato.
The Italian wine list has such notable selections as the crisp Cantele 2011 Chardonnay from Puglia. Several Italian beers, including Peroni or Moretti ,are available on tap and by the bottle. Lunch daily, 11:30am to 4pm, dinner Monday to Saturday 4 to 9:30pm; Sunday to 9pm. -- Marian Betancourt