On August 14, acclaimed chef Matthew Kenney will open SESTINA, a vegan pasta and wine bar in the East Village neighborhood of New York City. SESTINA is taking over the space of Kenney’s Plant Food + Wine with a new Italian concept that pairs small plates and desserts with an extensive sustainable wine program. Sample dishes include brown butter gnocchi served with pumpkin seed parmesan; escarole topped with smoked ricotta, artichoke, preserved lemon, and pickled red onion; and zeppole served with chocolate ganache. “SESTINA offers a healthy, plant-based adaptation of universally-loved Italian classics, and the best pasta you will ever eat,” Kenney said. “Using the highest quality ingredients, honoring traditional styles—while constantly experimenting with new dishes—is what makes it unique, not just in the plant-based market, but the restaurant industry as a whole.” The focal point of the 1,000-square-foot space will be a glass-enclosed “pasta bar,” where diners can watch chefs prepare dishes. SESTINA—which also features an outdoor patio—plans to open for dine-in service.
To accommodate home cooks during the COVID-19 pandemic, the restaurant will also offer cook-at-home pasta meal kits that can be ordered with to-go bottled cocktails which can be ordered through SESTINA’s online marketplace. “This is a huge year of growth for the plant-based market, especially given the current health crisis. People are realizing that they need to take care of themselves more than ever, in a way that is sustainable and enjoyable,” Kenney said. “We continue to see a real shift in the restaurant industry, which has been something I’ve been working toward for a very long time.”
In addition to SESTINA, Kenney operates a number of vegan restaurant concepts across the globe, including Plant Food + Wine in Los Angeles, Hungry Angelina in Brooklyn, NY and Long Beach, CA, and Double Zero (multiple locations). On August 1, Kenney opened a two-for-one concept in San Francisco in the former space of iconic eatery Jardinerie where he now operates Baia (an Italian restaurant) and Woodblock (a sushi pop-up).