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all photos: Jeff Martin

In what is proving to be quite the revamp year for the W Hotel, a brand new restaurant just opened in the space of the old J&G Steakhouse. Pinea, named after the pine trees that dot the Italian seaside, is yet another twist on the standard luxury take, opting for a more casual, bright, friendly atmosphere compared to its predecessor, and with a fresh, shareable menu overseen by Chef Barry Koslow. Koslow was previously at Tallullah/Eat Bar, the Mendocino Grill and most recently, the wonderful DGS delicatessen.

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Dishes from Italy, Greece and South of France always featured somewhat on those menus, but here, he really gets to spread his Mediterranean wings. Stand outs include the saffron risotto, the prosciutto wrapped figs and a whole branzino, which sits atop of a bed of farro, fennel, mint and lemon. Even the Italian standbys like bruschetta get a twist, here served as a trio (with smoked ricotta & espellette, avocado & pistachio, and chickpea & grilled scallion).

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The dishes are supported by a cocktail list (for before, during AND after the meal), a well curated and mostly local beer selection and a lovely wine list is true to the region that inspired the meal you’re eating, with some great by-the-glass choices for $10 or under. And with a bright blue interior, comfortable banquettes and a smiling staff dressed in Levi’s and colorful button ups, the atmosphere is all of a sudden that of a place you’d be ok lingering at, even after all the potential see-and-be-seenness is over.

Also worth lingering for: the dessert menu, with the olive oil cake ranking up there with some of our favorite dishes this year, savory or otherwise.

Pinea is now open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Details and reservations here: http://www.pineadc.com/

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