Lower Manhattan seems to have found a one-man preservation crew in Soda Shop co-owner Craig Béro. Not long after refurbishing that restaurant’s eerie addition, Béro lent his restorative mojo to the Cosmopolitan Hotel and began renovating a space that what was once a ladies’ lunch counter in the 1800s, and which has just opened as Cosmopolitan Café. Béro’s plan for instituting single-dish dinner service next week is as pleasantly anachronistic as the place itself.
Béro tells us he’s always wanted to do a European-style café. The current menu reflects that desire, with items like pan au chocolat, espresso from the bar’s antique Fiorenzato machine, and the usual assortment of focaccia sandwiches, olives, and prosciutto. Dinner service starts next week with only one item per night, dependent on what’s available that day at Greenwich Street’s mini-greenmarket and what Béro feels like cooking. The reconstruction of the space is meticulous, with artifacts including Béro’s own great-grandfather’s icebox and an original billboard from the hotel boasting “300 steam-heated rooms,” which Béro uncovered from the “vault” — underground tunnels once used for the city’s water supply. Now if he can only uncover a liquor license, he’ll really be set. — Alexandra Vallis
Cosmopolitan Cafe, 95 West Broadway; no phone