Cucina di Pesce's only connections these days are to the dockworkers who give the chefs their pick of fresh seafood each morning. Back in the '20s and '30s, however, the exposed brick and hardwood joint served as mob boss Charles "Lucky" Luciano's casino. History still hangs thick in the restaurant's dimly lit atmosphere, along with the smells of a modern Italian kitchen.
Armed with butter, garlic, and tomatoes, chefs craft sauces with which to decorate monkfish, shrimp, and tuna steaks. They sauté littleneck clams in white sauce before plating them in nests of fresh linguine. They work with the fruits of the land as well as the sea, stuffing ravioli with pumpkin and dousing sizzling steaks in red-wine sauces. On weekdays, they host happy hours during which guests can enjoy unlimited mussels served by confused bodybuilders.