Blurred Lines

Acquerello spinoff 1760 is even more inventive than the original

If you come to 1760 expecting linguine and Chianti, prepare to be disappointed.

Just as Acquerello's Italian focus is more a gauzy filter than a culinary template, its casual spinoff, which opened three weeks ago, is no trattoria. Spare and grey, it's about as rustic as Ron Swanson is a salad fan.

Chef Adam Tortosa spent a few weeks at the mother ship training to make pasta, but for the most part, he says, "They let me do what I want." Which means some fascinating culinary riffing.

The dining room at 1760 (photo: Daniel Morris)

Roasted brussels sprouts ($8), for instance, are dressed with tart vinegar and dusted in finely sieved egg yolks. At the heart of a fried duck sandwich ($15) is a crazily juicy patty of confit leg meat with a crisp breadcrumb shell and spicy aioli.

Tortosa, who cooked under Michael Voltaggio at Ink, works in two modes: the delicate and the brawny.

Tortosa's delicate mode produces both failures (beef tartare over sticky almond purée, $16) and bewitching, haunting successes, such as crab meat and saline "sea grass" set atop a hot-pink watermelon gazpacho ($15) whose sweetness is transformed into something savory with a few drops of toasted sesame oil.

We can't wait to see what other tricks he has up his sleeve.