What to Eat at Upland, the ‘California-Inspired’ Knockout Opening Tomorrow

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Estrella: chicken liver, sherry, rosemary, and sage.
Estrella: chicken liver, sherry, rosemary, and sage. Photo: Liz Clayman

Former Il Buco Alimentari chef Justin Smillie’s much-anticipated collaboration with Stephen Starr is now in soft-open mode, and tomorrow, October 28, it will begin its service officially. Upland, housed in the old Manzanilla space on the corner of 26th Street and Park Avenue South, is named for the Southern California town in which Smillie was born. The food, fittingly, is “California-inspired” (Smillie earned his chops at Barbuto, after all), but that doesn’t mean diners should expect kale salads and spa omelettes.

In fact, Smillie’s menu includes a bone-marrow crostino, fancy pizzas with pear and stracciatella, slow-roasted sunchokes with salsa verde, and porcelet with Jimmy Nardello peppers, charred onions, and persimmon. And there will be pasta, of course — farro spaghetti spiked with sea urchin sourced from Maine, plus ricotta gnudi with broccoli and bagna cauda. Beverage manager Chantelle Pabros will oversee the 500-bottle wine list.

To help with the remodel, Starr also enlisted the expertise of famed design firm Roman and Williams (whose work you’ve seen in Lafayette, the Breslin, or the Standard Grill). They’ve decorated the space with glossy woods, copper accents, and green leather banquettes.

The restaurant will be dinner-only when it opens tomorrow, but lunch and brunch will follow.

Beef tartare: black trumpet mushrooms, puffed farro, anchovy, and egg yolk.
Beef tartare: black trumpet mushrooms, puffed farro, anchovy, and egg yolk. Photo: Liz Clayman
Pear pizza: stracciatella, pear, pecan pesto, arugula, and balsamic.
Pear pizza: stracciatella, pear, pecan pesto, arugula, and balsamic. Photo: Liz Clayman
Gratuitous close-up shot of that good-looking pizza.
Gratuitous close-up shot of that good-looking pizza. Photo: Liz Clayman
Bone-in aged NY strip: charred spring onions, and romesco.
Bone-in aged NY strip: charred spring onions, and romesco. Photo: Liz Clayman
Upland is Roman and Williams’ first collaboration with Starr Restaurants.
Upland is Roman and Williams’ first collaboration with Starr Restaurants. Photo: Liz Clayman
It's a big dining room.
It's a big dining room. Photo: Liz Clayman
Handsome, right?
Handsome, right? Photo: Liz Clayman

Upland, 345 Park Avenue South at 26th Street, 212-686-1006

What to Eat at Upland