Missy Robbins Embraces Simplicity, at Misi

Posted August 28, 2018 10:49 p.m. EDT

NEW YORK — Missy Robbins, the chef and ownerof Lilia in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, now has a challenge: distinguishing Misi, her new restaurant, from its older sibling about a mile away.

From nearly the moment it opened in 2016, Lilia was a hit with diners and critics, who extolled the Italian menu and her touch with pastas.

“I expected Lilia to be a neighborhood restaurant where people would just come in for a plate of pasta, but people are really dining there, and they come from all over,” Robbins said. “Misi is meant to be a little simpler.”

The space will not have a wood-burning oven, but it will still have some eye-catching features. Among them are a gleaming stretch of open kitchen along one side and an airy, glassed-in room for making pasta on the other, where three to five artisans will be on view, mixing, rolling, extruding, twisting and filling. The two butcher-block work tables, where the pasta will be made during the day, will be available for private dining at night.

If all goes well, Robbins expects that on weekends, she’ll be serving about 500 portions of pasta a day. She does not plan to sell the pasta retail.

“I’ve been working on all of this, in my head, while I’m running Lilia,” she said.

The subdued gray, white and black design by Peter Guzy, in a more straightforward room than Lilia’s quirky space, includes a total of 98 seats, 35 at a counter facing the kitchen and the bar. (Robbins says that, from her experience at Lilia, they add warmth and make dining fun and interactive.)

She added that she did not intend to serve anything from the menu at Lilia. “The menu will be very simple,” Robbins said, “10 varied pastas and 10 vegetable dishes, some with proteins.”

Among the pastas she expects to serve are tortelli in brown butter with a spinach and Swiss chard filling; bigoli with pork sugo; and chickpea pappardelle with rosemary. The vegetable-focused dishes may include charred radicchio with bone marrow and balsamic vinegar, and olive oil-poached zucchini with capers, oregano and torn grilled bread. There may be a nightly special. For dessert, there will be gelato.

Her new wine director, Eliza Christen, came from the highly rated Meadowood resort in the Napa Valley and is assembling a collection, mostly Mediterranean, that’s more varied than the all-Italian list at Lilia.



329 Kent Ave. (South Fourth Street), Williamsburg, Brooklyn, September.