Thursday, February 10, 2011

☞ EAT: Lido To Debut This Weekend

Here's the Harlem Bespoke interview with Lido owner Susannah Koteen who has announced that the eatery's official opening date for dinner service will be on Saturday, starting at 5:00 PM (corner of 117th and FDB). The interior photo by Melissa Hom is via New York magazine which also has the menu up on their site: LINK. The restaurant website is also up:

HB: Everyone is pretty excited about Lido. How will it be different from its predecessor since they too were also Italian?
 -Our predecessor had different owners and a different vision. We have hired an excellent chef, and are training our wait staff very carefully. The vibe we are going for is sophisticated but still laid back and friendly. Our goal is to be everyone's favorite neighborhood place to eat and enjoy a cocktail or two.

HB: Some readers have mentioned that the previous space needed more warmth to it. What are the new changes for the interior design?
-It is very different. Come check it out. Exposed brick, stainless steel chandeliers with subtle crystal beading, and sea green banquettes create a comforting backdrop for sepia-toned vintage photos of Lido de Venezia and a feminine touch of rose-colored shades. A long, red oak bar offers ample space for cocktails and assaggini. Additional high tops orient towards the dramatic French doors on one of two exposures that each offer beautiful, sweeping light by day and people-watching opportunities by night.

HB: Affordability is always a hot topic for those living uptown. Was that in mind when you decided on opening Lido?
-Yes. I have lived in Harlem for 14 years and know the neighborhood very well. We focused on value. The food and wine we are offering would be way more expensive at other places in Manhattan.

HB: Who is the chef for Lido and is he Italian?
-Chef Stephen Putnam, a four-time James Beard Institute Recognition award recipient. Putnam’s career has brought him to opposite coasts in equal success. His farm to table, local Mediterranean style has been seen in NYC under David Burke at the Park Avenue Café and the W’s Doral Tuscany, as well as the River Café. He was Executive Chef at Wine & Roses Hotel, Restaurant, and Spa in Napa, The Bellevue Club in Seattle, as well as Owner and Executive Chef at Paradise Cafe in the Hamptons, and Frog and the Peach, a French-American style restaurant in Avon, CT.

HB: We know exact opening dates are hard to pin down. Do you have an estimate at this point in time?
-Yes definitely February 12th.

HB: Why choose Harlem at this point in time to open a new business?
-I live in the neighborhood and this type of restaurant seems to be what the neighborhood needs. We are looking to fill a niche in the neighborhood and contribute to the emergence of Harlem as an upcoming dining destination.


  1. Why is there no one in the neighborhood willing to charge less than $15 for entrees? At least Frizzante was somewhere you could drop in for a decently-cheap meal...
    Frustrated on Frederick Douglass

  2. Yeah, I'm struggling a bit with this one. I guess it's a different direction to Frizzante, but I was still hoping for a place with a laid back vibe, low lighting and good, cheap Italian food. Still, this guy is a stellar chef, so the food will probably be outstanding.

  3. $15 is about standard these days with commodity prices where there are. It's called inflation folks...unfortunately. This definitely is better priced than most of the others but like Sarah I do wish that there was more towards the $15 end of the table.

    By the way if you pay $10-$12 for a drink how can you fault $15 for a meal???

    We'll see how it goes.

  4. I never pay upwards of $10 for a drink on non-special occasions. I like everything in our neighborhood WAY better than where I lived before (near the river on 125thish) but the one advantage up there was the columbia corridor of cheap eats--for those nights you work late and don't have time to cook and just want something fairly healthy and inexpensive (like mill korean or the falafel place or bettolona). MY hopes are all pinned on you, bad horse pizza.

  5. Sarah, I completely agree. There has been a huge transformation with FDB, but I wish there were a few more cheaper options. Maybe as Columbia expands further north, we will see a few more places opening up? 125th is also a mystery to me. There is absolutely nothing in terms of food options along there, bar the usual fast food (Burger King, McDonalds etc.) Is this because there isn't the clientele to support it? I think that is gradually changing.

  6. @Chris You're right, but don't forget Pino's on 125th!

  7. I agree with you all. I was hoping for something priced more moderately. Now pinning hopes on the tavern on the old gas station site @116 and 8th.

  8. I'm skeptical...The pricing is a little too high within that median-range. I'm sure the food will taste delicious, with Chef Putnum in charge, but the menu just isn't dazzling me. I was hoping this would be a neighborhood staple for those nights you don't want to cook or order cheap delivery. I think they're missing the mark but will reserve judgement til I actually get there and try it out.

  9. Added Lido website link to the post.

  10. Agree with all - the prices seem a bit too high, esp. for families hoping for some simple fare for their kiddies.

  11. I agree with everyone here. These prices seem much too high (and $15 is the very low end of the entree price range, for ravioli no less), and at this point we have enough places charging these kinds of prices considering there are no restaurants offering a comparable style of fare at more moderate prices. I wanted a place to go on a regular basis and/or when I didn't feel like cooking. No matter how spectacular the food is, this place does not fit the bill. Why can't somebody open a place around here like Max Soha on 123rd and Amsterdam--comfortable atmosphere, excellent prices, decent food, and . . . it's almost always packed?

  12. So here is my review after having dinner at Lido last night, grades are out of 10 (1 being horrible 10 being excellent):

    Ambiance: 6
    Service: 5 (I am a bit torn here because the wait staff was actually not bad but the time between courses was poor).
    Crowd: 8 was good to see a good mix of people
    Food: 6 The polenta appetizer was actually very good. The main course was lukewarm which was disappointing considering how long it took to get to the table. With this said I will give them 3 tips 1) faster service 2) more consistency less fuss more must 3) add a few basic dishes in the $12 to $14 range.

    I will give them another try for sure if only for the polenta :)

  13. Harlem BBC, what did you have as a main course? Was the restaurant crowded? Thanks for the review. There was a fair amount of discussion about the Lido before it opened, but not many initial reviews this week, so thanks.

  14. We ate there 2 nights ago and thought it was excellent. I've lived in Italy, and eat/cook Italian all the time, so I tend to be critical. But the gnocchi with guanciale and truffle butter were excellent (though very rich) as were the spaghetti with veal meatballs. Wine is BYO so that keeps down the prices (for now). But I agree that they should try to add a few more moderately priced dishes to keep the neighborhood crowd coming back. You get much more value here than at Bier International, which will set you back 20 just for a beer and fries.

  15. Doesn't Covo on 12th n 135th st fit into what you all are looking for. Relax place with good, affordable italian

  16. Riverside Dr,

    Yes, it does, but it's not exactly in the neighborhood. I live down the street from Lido, so Covo is a pretty far, and not exactly aesthetically pleasing, walk, especially at night.

  17. I have eaten at Lido twice since it opened and I think it is delicious. I wish it great sucess.