Gallery: First Look: Balena

Inside Balena
Inside Balena

The old Landmark space has been completely transformed. It's kind of hard to even remember the old space. The design is more open, with a greater use of natural light.

Spicy Grilled Short Ribs, Charred Orange, Basil ($13)
Spicy Grilled Short Ribs, Charred Orange, Basil ($13)

"This is an Italian riff on a Korean dish. It uses all Italian ingredients. The short ribs are marinated for five days and then grilled. It's sweet, spicy, and delicious."

Spicy Sausage, Red Onion, Tomato, Mozzarella ($14)
Spicy Sausage, Red Onion, Tomato, Mozzarella ($14)

The pizza is cooked in the conventional oven, and features a crust that is basically just a great bread.

Smoked Mackerel, Aioli, Pangrattato, Soft Cooked Egg ($10)
Smoked Mackerel, Aioli, Pangrattato, Soft Cooked Egg ($10)

"The Spanish mackerel is lightly smoked over apple wood, and then served with fried breadcrumbs, a seriously garlicy aioli, and a soft cooked egg."

Tagliolini Nero, Crab, Sea Urchin, Chile ($19)
Tagliolini Nero, Crab, Sea Urchin, Chile ($19)

This black pasta has a serious chile kick, but that's balanced by the sweet hunks of crab.

Sliced Winter Citrus, Avocado, Burnt Pine Nut ($11)
Sliced Winter Citrus, Avocado, Burnt Pine Nut ($11)

"This is totally refreshing. We were planning to open in the dead of winter, so I had this citrus salad planned. Of course, now we are adapting to the spring weather."

Tajarin with Pork Ragu ($14)
Tajarin with Pork Ragu ($14)

This comforting dish is one of the many pastas on the menu.

Zingerman’s Buratta, Roasted Beets, Celery Root ($14)
Zingerman’s Buratta, Roasted Beets, Celery Root ($14)

"I could have gone with a buratta from Italy or California, but Zingerman's buratta is one of my favorites. This is paired with some beets from Werp Farms and pickled red onions. Mostly, I just tried to leave the buratta alone."

Grilled Head-On Prawns, Grapes, Finger Chiles, Aioli ($19)
Grilled Head-On Prawns, Grapes, Finger Chiles, Aioli ($19)

The shrimp are cooked on the wood-burning grill. The shrimp's sweetness is accentuated by some grapes, and then balanced with some chiles.

Grilled Sturgeon, Glazed Carrots, White Balsamic ($21)
Grilled Sturgeon, Glazed Carrots, White Balsamic ($21)

Another dish that utilizes the grill, the sturgeon are cut into thin slices and served on sweet carrots and drizzled with white balsamic vinegar.

Tiramisu ($8)
Tiramisu ($8)

This dessert from Amanda Rockman comes with chocolate sauce, coffee streusel, and roasted pear.

Rosemary No. 2 ($11)
Rosemary No. 2 ($11)

Mixologist Debbi Peek is using a lot of Italian bitters in these cocktails. If you love them like I do, then this is your drink, as it contains Campari, Aperol, fresh sour, egg white, and flamed rosemary.

Grapefruit, Dry Meringue, Cinnamon, Aperol Granite ($8)
Grapefruit, Dry Meringue, Cinnamon, Aperol Granite ($8)

This Sorbetti is a lighter and more refreshing way to end the meal.

Balena
Balena

The menu includes such Italian favorites as pizzas and pastas, along with some lighter starts. But there is also a grill/oven/rotisserie section.