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At Giano, A Real Love of Food

DSC_0018M.J. Gonzalez Giano, 126 East Seventh Street.

One morning not long ago, Paolo Rossi, the co-owner of Giano, an Italian restaurant at 126 East Seventh Street, was having his coffee when he was struck by an inspiration for “a new caprese for 2011.” The caprese is a classic Italian sandwich with tomato and mozzarella.  Paolo is fond of the classics but also, as a worldly Milanese, of the newest of the new. The caprese of 2011, now available on Giano’s menu,  would feature a basil-flavored soft bun wrapped around a paper-thin slice of tomato and buffala mozzarella ice cream.

After more than 10 years in New York, Paolo’s English is pretty good, but I thought I had misheard him. Ice cream? “It’s a ‘Wow’ effect,” Paolo explained. “I can ask Simone to make you one.” Simone Bonelli is Giano’s new chef.  He had, Paolo proudly told me, “worked seven years next to the number six chef in Italy” and had recently left the terribly pricey Per Bacco to cook at Giano. It was the middle of the afternoon, and Simone had just arrived on his Vespa; his  helmet, bright orange with a white racing stripe, was sitting on Giano’s curving, fan-shaped white bar. I felt like I had walked into a Fellini movie.
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