Founded in 1804, the New-York Historical Society is the oldest museum in New York City with a world-class collection of over 1.6 million works of American art in mixed media. Located in a landmark building on the corner of 77th Street and Central Park West, this New York City institution explores the rich political, social and cultural history through unique exhibitions and educational programs. Fittingly named after the Italian word for ‘historic’, Caffé Storico was part of a $70 million dollar, building-wide restoration completed in November 2011.
Located on the building’s main floor, Caffé Storico’s large windows offer extraordinary views of Central Park West and the neighboring American Museum of Natural History. While visitors can dine without paying admission into the museum, the restaurant’s decor is a certain nod to the mission and purpose of the New-York Historical Society.
The space features a primarily white motif with tasteful pops of yellow that add a fresh, contemporary feel to the casual yet sophisticated elegance of wooden panelling and decorative moldings. Soaring ceilings draw the eye up to golden chandeliers that contrast fashionably with white shelves displaying various styles of classic American decorative plates. A large window above a line of yellow booths exhibits a large white, seated statue, beyond which visitors can see down a sleek, arched hallway into the museum’s main lobby.
Caffé Storico’s menu is an equal sight to behold. A long wine list features 20 Italian selections by the glass and many more by the bottle, as well as beer and speciality cocktails made from fresh, seasonal ingredients.
Brunch offers the likes of baked eggs with spicy tomato and crisp pancetta, ricotta cheesecake-filled brioche with macerated berries, and the classic Caffé Storico burger with stracciatella, vine-ripened tomatoes and arugula – all of which pair perfectly with a Bellini Stagionale; prosecco, Bacardi limon, strawberry and mint, or a local, New York City-brewed draft beer.
The lunch crowd enjoys a selection of innovative pasta dishes, from the ricotta cavatelli with lobster, brussel sprout leaves and chervil, to the pappardelle with duck ragu topped with shaved chocolate and orange.
Dinner is rich in rustic Italian dishes. Start off with a hearty Minestrone soup topped with pesto croutons or the crisp ricotta crostini with truffle honey and fig, and move on to a main course of perfectly seared diver scallops with romanesco, sliced Gaeta olives and cauliflower cream. Finish with an indulgent dessert of chocolate bread pudding with cinnamon ice cream and a bourbon caramel drizzle.
All the while, attentive and friendly waitstaff are ready to make recommendations and answer any questions you have throughout your meal.
Dining at Caffé Storico is a sensory, culinary and cultural New York City experience best paired with a wander through the New-York Historical Society. Aside from an unparalleled permanent collection of Hudson River Valley paintings, American folk art and portraiture, current exhibitions examine the significant yet largely unexplored relationship between Abraham Lincoln and his Jewish associates in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War in Lincoln and the Jews. Freedom Journey 1965: Photographs of the Selma to Montgomery March by Stephen Somerstein documents Somerstein’s arresting photographs of this historic Civil Rights march, and Chinese American: Inclusion/Exclusion takes a closer look at trade and immigration between China and the United States.
Caffé Storico is open for lunch, Sunday brunch and dinner with a Sunday night prix-fixe menu. The space is also available for private events.