A funny thing happens at the nexus of southernmost Chelsea, eastern Meatpacking, and the northern West Village. You wind up at dinner. For years, the Maritime Hotel and its former restaurant inhibitor, La Bottega, has been a pre-approved, universally acceptable meeting place for all dining-related gatherings planned by people you’re either kind of friends with, or kind of related to. You never choose it, but it chooses you. Why? Location, location, location, and the lack of other viable options for party time-ish dinner in an area where that’s the thing.
Between the years of 2000-2014, we probably ate at La Bottega 15 times. You know those types of nights: Tiffany from work's birthday dinner, Jackie, your second cousin’s going away party, college friends from out of town who couldn't get into Buddakan. It was just one of those spots that was never exactly amazing, but always good enough to get by, and, in general, a fun time. The same all bodes true for La Bottega’s successor, La Sirena. It serves all the same purposes of its predecessor, but has slightly better food and a really really large, really hang-out able bar.
La Sirena certainly has its flaws: the large space feels a little fancy-hotel-restaurant-sterile, it's extremely loud (to the point where you can't hear anyone at your table), and honestly, a lot of the food tastes like it was cooked in the same vat of tomato sauce. A tasty vat of sauce, but not the most interesting. While La Sirena may have Mario Batali’s name on it, know you shouldn't come in expecting a Babbo-level meal.
La Sirena is no masterpiece, but it’ll get the job done in the right situations. It’s good for big groups, a lot of the food is solid, there are multiple private dining rooms, and there's even plenty of outdoor/patio dining. That's more than most restaurants in this hood can offer.
There’s an entire garden of vegetables on top of these silky slices of raw beef rib. The black truffle vinaigrette is good too. Order it.
We liked this very much. The pasta is smothered in red sauce, mixed with tender octopus and lots spice. Into it.
A straightforward rendition of the classic: garlic, white wine, and chili flakes.
La Sirena might as well be called La Tomato; they really like the red sauce. The big chunks of pork spare ribs aid in a nice forkful of carbs.
Sweet and sour pork meatballs with more sauce, on a bed of greens.
The swordfish gets topped with olives, currants, capers, pine nuts, and of course tomatoes, because everything has tomatoes here - to give it a not-so-basic flavor profile.
Like red sauce, short ribs are also very popular at Sirena. Here the ribs are served braised, rolled and rolled on top of a bed of broccoli rabe and spicy bread crumbs. Tasty, but also tough to tell apart from everything else we ate here.
If you need a weekday breakfast or weekend brunch move without the big crowds, La Sirena is definitely a good move.
Best thing on the brunch menu. These pancakes taste like candy. Go big.
A skillet of hot egg action.