Work on the new Dona is a blur of activity. Pictured: the old Dona.Photo: Jeremy Liebman
When Dona shuttered unexpectedly last year, the impact was cushioned by the knowledge that Michael Psilakis has two other restaurants: the informal Kefi and the ambitious Anthos. Well, both places are big successes, but some of us still miss Dona — its Italian inflections, its suppleness, the width of its menu, and of course that world-class gnudi. We checked in with Psilakis the other night, and he tells us that he and his boyish chef de cuisine, Jason Hall, are testing recipes like crazy: “We’re constantly cooking, doing different things than we’ve been doing at Anthos. I really love filled pastas, so there’s going to be some of those. And the gnudi will definitely be back.”
Psilakis and Hall are currently playing with an immense piece of smoked jowl meat from Tennessee ham guru Allen Benton, but there’s no guarantee it will make it onto the menu or in what form. And a milk-braised veal breast with slow-braised escarole and cannelloni beans "came out really, really, really good," Psilakis says. Currently there are extra men on duty at Anthos, two full sets of mise en place, and half the walk-in loaded with stuff for the new menu. But the menu has to be on track soon: Dona will be opening in its new space as soon as mid-January, assuming nothing goes wrong.
Related: Dona to Return, in Relaxed Form