By Julie Shapiro
CHINATOWN — A strip of Canal Street best known for its counterfeit handbags will soon be home to an upscale restaurant.
The block was part of the so-called "Counterfeit Triangle," a group of 32 storefronts that have been covered in metal shutters since a city raid nearly three years ago.
Now, the Martignetti brothers hope to turn the crumbling interior of 230 Canal St. into a 6,000-square-foot bar and restaurant, with seating for about 180 people.
The duo has hired chef Keith Harry, the consultant chef at Macao Trading Co. and longtime sous-chef at Chanterelle, to craft an Asian-inspired menu for the as-yet-unnamed establishment.
Proposed dishes include spicy lamb and eggplant dumplings, a bun sandwich of shrimp and snow pea leaves with miso mayonnaise and a lobster hot pot with curry, sauterne and lo mein.
"We’re very excited," Harry said in an interview Wednesday. "[The menu] is inspired by what I love to do."
Downtown residents were thrilled to hear of the proposal at a Community Board 1 meeting Tuesday night and granted the bar a rare 4 a.m. closing time Thursday through Saturday nights.
"It’s a good addition to the neighborhood," said John Fratta, chairman of CB1’s Seaport/Civic Center Committee. "The shops that were there before were breaking the law."
Fratta hopes the new restaurant will enliven an area on the border of Chinatown and TriBeCa that has been empty since the city’s February 2008 raid, which netted over $1 million worth of fake Gucci, Rolex and Chanel products.
Last April, Terranova Properties, which owns the shuttered shops, agreed to pay the city $800,000 for the right to reopen them.
Terranova could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday.