Ciano

By Scott, Andrea K. | The New Yorker, February 13, 2012 | Go to article overview

Ciano


Scott, Andrea K., The New Yorker


If some locations seem cursed for new restaurants, can others be lucky? The Tuscan-style Beppe was a hit for nine years, before closing in 2010. Within months, another upscale down-home establishment sprang up in its place, helmed by the rising star Shea Gallante, and it may well be serving the finest, if hardly the cheapest, Italian food in New York. Beppe's chef used to greet guests wearing rosemary tucked into his pocket; by coincidence, small vases on Ciano's tables sport sprigs of the herb in lieu of flowers. Think of it as the Italian four-leaf clover.

Not that Gallante needs luck. At the now defunct Cru, where he earned a Michelin star, he was so esteemed by critics that when the news broke that he was leaving, the Times ran the headline " SAD DAY." The rustic cuisine at Ciano has been garnering well-deserved raves since it opened, and the cozy farmhouse interior (made of wood reclaimed from a bona-fide farmhouse) is packed with well-heeled locals, zealous Yelpers, and expense-account-fuelled out-of-towners. With popularity come a few problems--the wait for your table can feel interminable, and the service can be more than sloppy--but who cares if a Martini lands in your lap when the food on your plate tastes like heaven? Gallante saves the best for first: fist-size veal meatballs, so earthy they give dirt a good name, resting on silky polenta that's lent smoky depth by truffle Pecorino. …

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