Class Act

Get into cicchetti at Caffè Storico

Caffè Storico is stunning.

Situated at the front of the newly renovated New York Historical Society, the restaurant is all high-gloss white paint, dripping brass chandeliers and Meyer-lemon accents.

The museum's china and porcelain collection stretches to the ceiling in illuminated 15-foot-high cabinets. Windows reveal sculpture and elegant arches in the hallways beyond.

But in our book, all of this alluring grandeur can't compete with chef Jim Burke's double-decker grilled-cheese sandwich. You'll find it under the Cicchetti section, under the name Mozzarella en Carrozza ($7).

Sun-dried-tomato pesto and buffalo mozzarella are stacked four pieces high onto bread that is skewered, quartered, dipped in egg and then pan-fried in butter. It's crisp, gooey, stretchy satisfaction.

There are 14 cicchetti offered. We suggest making like a Venetian and composing a meal solely from them. Baccalà–salted cod–whipped with cream and olive oil is meant to be scooped onto grilled white polenta ($10), and meatballs ($11) built from beef, pork and veal are delicious in their minimalism.

Throw a house-made pasta into the cicchetti party only if you must.

Caffè Storico, 170 Central Park W. (at W. 76th St.); 212-485-9211 or