The dining room of John McDonald's Sessanta (60 Thompson Street; 212-219-8119) in the Sixty Soho hotel looks like it could have been plucked straight from 1960s Italy. Leaning toward glam, the décor features vertical-striped maple walls, vintage-style wood framed chairs, orb light fixtures, and plush azure couches and seating. The fare at Sessanta is a bit more rustic, focusing on authentic coastal Southern Italian cuisine, with a strong emphasis on Sicily.
However, the restaurant goes way beyond red sauce and sausage and peppers. Flavors and ingredients from across the world are incorporated into the menu: couscous and figs from Africa, tomatoes from the New World, seafood from the Mediterranean, spices and dried fruits from the Middle East. "It's an interesting cuisine, because culturally there are influences from most of the global empires from the past 3,000 years," says chef Jordan Frosolone. "People don't really think about that."