Prima Opens for Dinner: How It’s Looking, What It’s Cooking

Photos: Noah Fecks

Hamid Rashidzada tells us that he and his partner in Summit Bar, Greg Seider, opened Prima, their first restaurant together, on East First Street yesterday. This will be a neighborhood affair: Not only did the duo enlist Mathieu Palombino (of Motorino and the forthcoming Bowery Diner) as well as David Malbequi (formerly of BLT Fish, now of Bowery Diner) to design a seafood-centric dinner menu, but they’re also teaming with Ken Nye, the owner of Ninth Street Espresso.

Once coffee service (from 8 a.m. till 5 p.m.) starts in a couple of weeks, Prima will be the only restaurant carrying Ninth Street’s full array of espresso drinks, according to Mr. Rashidzada. In the meantime, it’s open for dinner from Sunday through Wednesday from 5 p.m. till midnight and till 1 a.m. from Thursday through Saturday (the bar, manned by Mr. Seider, will stay open for cocktails an hour later).

Mr. Rashidzada, who was a vegetarian for several years, said he wanted the menu to be light, healthy, and seasonal. The fish, sourced in part by F. Rozzo & Sons, is sustainably caught (mostly from waters in Long Island, New Jersey, and other nearby locales) and can be complimented with an assortment of sauces and sides. “Mathieu came up with the idea of treating [the seafood restaurant] like a New York City steakhouse, where you pick your own steak sauce.”

Lunch, when it launches in the next weeks, will consist of Mediterranean-style sandwiches, salads, and soups, served in a casual atmosphere that Mr. Rashidzada described as a “slow-food, counter-style type of thing.”

Brunch, he said, will be more “classic New York City-style,” with takes on pancakes, eggs Benedict, and the like.

Have a look at the preview menu below, and then check out The Local’s slideshow above, to see how the space that belonged to the Elephant for 17 years is looking these days. “We threw a stick of dynamite in there,” said Mr. Rashidzada of the extensive renovations. “It’s one of my favorite things to do.”

Prima, 58 East First Street (First Avenue), (646) 559-4823

Prima Preview Menu