Do I bring my camera? Do I introduce myself? Hmmmm, maybe. But what I don’t do is stop breathing (my typical reaction when I am nervous). This was all in prep for a night with Gwyneth Paltrow, in honor of Mario Batali, at La Sirena, thanks to Cadillac and let’s not forget goop (Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle brand and ecommerse site.)
Cadillac’s ‘Road to Table’ is a night where they pair up with stellar restaurants, polish up their newest cars and have guests drive a Cadillac of their choice up to their restaurant destination. Gwyneth happily chose to cross market with Cadillac for goop (in my opinion the best provider of lifestyle content anywhere) because she held fond memories of the car manufacturer. Her Grandpa Buster only ever drove this brand of car.
The night started at The Whitney. The drive in the Cadillac XT5 Crossover went too quickly. It felt like I was reclining in a leather chair while relaxing in my living room but with a large sunroof, sophisticated technology and a stellar sound system.
It was time to get out now, the smartly dressed ‘Road to Table’ valet was already opening my door to escort me to Mario Batali’s new restaurant ~ La Sirena • 88 Ninth Ave • NY, NY • 212-977-6096
I noticed everything. The two-toned marble mosaic floor tile on the terrace. The wall of NANA doors that opened to the bar that was 2 ½ times longer than bars are in NYC. The bar’s backlighting that lit the liquor bottles up like a stained glass window. The tables that had monochromatic flowers (ivory) and that they balanced the bright summer green of their stems.
That the lighting fixtures were likely Michelle Varian (well done) and that the subdued fabric panels in the dining room absorbed sound while exuding comfort. There was soft yet upbeat music playing and even though it was the middle of July there was a breeze and no humidity (of course Mother Nature is on Gwyneth’s side) I thought.
Then I noticed her. Tall, elegant, joyous smile, fully present and most importantly – real. No, iconic. We were being introduced to Kim who had invited us. Kim was the head of adversting for goop and worked with Gwyneth daily so it was no big deal that Gwyneth was right behind us. It was no big deal and yet I was starting to feel faint which meant I did not have the internal grace to introduce myself to her tonight. That placing my seating card next to hers for a ‘selfie’ was the closest I was going to get to meeting her. And I was grateful for all of that.
There was a heartfelt intro by Gwyneth of her dear friend Mario followed up by a genuine hug. That same passion was continued into Mario’s speech about his menu for the evening and the ingredients he painstakingly chooses.
Insalate – a Tricolore with Chianti Vinaigrette and Parmigiano Reggiano salad. A mix of lettuces, some bitter, some smooth, some sweet yet all balanced by the bite of a well aged parmasean.
Primi- Panzotti, Leek and Mascarpone Stuffed Pasta with Castelmagno & Brown Butter. My table guests and I called them pasta pillows coated in highly infused basil butter. Mine dissappered as quickly as they could while politely being chewed.
Secondi- I chose the Crispy Branzino Piccata, Green & Yellow Squash Ragu with Providence Style Butter Sauce. The fish melted, the sauce dazzled and the firm vegetables finished with a satisfying crunch.
Dolci – Summer Panna Cotta • Apricot, Blueberry, Cherry & Passion Fruit. The fruits were at optimum ripeness which I’ve decided surprising created a new taste; salt, sweet, bitter, sour, spicy and La Sirena’s Summer Panna Cotta.
The evening ended with an Escalade ride to your destination with a reminder to not forget your complimentary dark chocolate bar. More appropriately would have been a ‘Robin, don’t forget a gosh darn thing.’
Cheers and Enjoy,