Xarello, a new Mediterranean restaurant, has opened in Williston Park.

Xarello, a new Mediterranean restaurant, has opened in Williston Park. Credit: Xarello

Xarello, a new Mediterranean restaurant, has opened in the Hillside Avenue space that for many years housed Ivy Cottage and the short-lived Madison’s on Hillside.

Owners John Alexopoulos and Claudio Peralta have serious restaurant cred, having both worked, most recently, at Picholine, the modern French-Mediterranean restaurant near Lincoln Center in Manhattan.

Alexopoulos and Peralta have replaced Madison’s cool decor with a warm blend of gold fabric and red banquettes. In the kitchen, executive chef Katia Iris Ramirez Malave has created a modern Mediterranean menu that includes starters ($6 to $11) such as red salad with red cabbage, walnuts and Manchego; lamb meatballs with yogurt and mint; butternut squash soup with fried chickpeas, sherry and dukka (an Egyptian spice mixture). Mains ($16 to $26) include roasted skate with couscous cake and bouillabaisse chutney; skirt steak with sunchoke hash, pickled red onion and salsa verde; autumn agnolotti with a salad of apples, celery root and hazelnuts.

Peralta worked at Picholine for almost 18 years; Alexopoulos joined him in that dining room after a decade at the formal French restaurant Lespinasse (in the St. Regis Hotel) as well as stints at Alain Ducasse, Molyvos, Bouley and Del Posto. Malave, a graduate of the culinary program Johnson & Wales in North Carolina, cooked at El Colmado and Blue Hill in Manhattan before joining the kitchen at Picholine.

Alexopoulos said that he and his team hoped to create an elegant restaurant whose vibe was warm and inviting. “It’s about ‘philoxenia,’ ” he said, using the ancient Greek word for hospitality, “making the stranger feel like a friend.”

“Xarello,” he noted, is the Spanish grape used to make the sparkling Catalonian wine Cava. Wine will be an important element of the restaurant, with about a dozen wines by the glass on offer.

Xarello is at 38 Hillside Ave., Williston Park, 516-747-0223.