steakhouse with Italian flair
t’s 100 percent steakhouse,” Chef Scott Conant announces, but there’s more to it. If anyone knows Conant, they understand this is where it gets interesting. That Italian flair, impossible to describe exactly but all encompassing, like that feeling you get watching a man stroll down the middle of a metropolitan street in an Italian custom three-piece suit. It exudes genuine charm and confidence. And that is the Conant touch: that deft hand that adds enough color to a plate to make it more than just delicious. That is the Cellaio menu.

“I wanted to stay away from a traditional steakhouse that can get expensive quickly,” explains Conant. He knows he is catering to a broad audience. Some are hotel guests, getting a peek at life that takes its cues from nature. Others are locals who arrive to celebrate that life, the milestones and the moments in between.He caters to all, and so offers those more compelling and expensive cuts of meat with approachable, affordable pastas that sing at the table. He wants you to not only break bread together but also share — share a steak, even — or indulge in your own.

Why Italian? Well, it’s about as Scott Conant as you get — the chef who does appreciate a finely cut Ermenegildo Zegna suit, by the way. But it also just makes sense. “Italian remains the most widely chosen ethnic food in this country, and so I wanted to focus on the best of both worlds and merge together an American steakhouse style and Italian cuisine to create something that’s familiar to everyone, regardless of what you’re looking for. If you’re in the mood for either cuisine, you will find it here.”

“Italian remains the most widely chosen ethnic food in this country, and so I wanted to focus on the best of both worlds and merge together American steakhouse and Italian to create something that’s familiar to everyone, regardless of what you’re looking for.”
—Scott Conant
When it comes to picking something off the menu, Conant has his go-to. It’s a menu staple: the bone-in rib-eye. “I get it every time I’m in town,” he says, laughing, “with a side of olive oil–mashed potatoes.” The rib-eye is rubbed with a beautiful, deep spice mixture. “It has a subtle flavor that goes so well with this cut. You don’t notice that it is there as much as you notice when it is not there. It extends the palate, elongating that flavor profile.” (See our recipe on page 7.)

The wine list offers Italian wines by the glass, but is decidedly American in its overall bottle offerings. “I love Italian wines,” Conant confesses. “It’s my own preference, but not everyone loves them as much as I do. And to have a successful and approachable wine list, I had to accept that. Offering Italian wines by the glass allows everyone to taste and experience what I feel is the ultimate pairing with my Italian dishes. But having a bank of American wines guests know and love, especially cabernet sauvignon, is equally important, as food and wine is deeply personal.”

Cellaio is open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday. cellaiosteak.com

crab legs, oysters, and shrimp
breads and pasta
pasta dish topped with cheese and ground beef
steak with mushrooms and sauce on the side
bar setting with stools and bottle wall
chicken dish topped with vegetables