“NO, A Friend of Ours” (Gran Sasso) – NY

“I said, no more shines. Maybe you didn’t hear about it, you’ve been away a long time. They didn’t go up there and tell you. I don’t shine shoes anymore.” WILLYB Italian Cuisine Don’t Shine Shoes No More!!!!

I’d like for you to consider Gran Sasso “a (Culinary) Friend of Ours”.

“SCATTA MENG!!” Mr. Pietro Sasso and Chef Luca Casadio come together like Scorsese and Bobby D. To bring you, an instant classic Italian restaurant. Dont even need to deal with the Carnie- like atmosphere of Little Italy, hosts beckoning you to come and try their eatery. Straight from the tip of lo Stivale. All the sights, sounds, and flavors from Marina Di Gioisa Jonica, Calabria are right here  on Kent avenue and North 10th for all ranges of epi-curiousness.

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A refreshing twist on a tried and true Antipasti. This Lemon and oil seasoned Grilled Calamar with salad was out of this world. The Grilled Calamar looks similar to a fried egg without the yolk in the center, with light brown grill marks. Unencumbered with having more batter than actual Calamar is a proper alternative. The addition of capers was a true  mouth watering delight, upon first sight. No extra grease from being fried which could muck up the true representation of taste. A direct link from Chef’s idea, to kitchen, to table. Like Vinnie did Joey Zasa, a Marvelous Execution.
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For the Primi Piatti….Chef Made Pasta on the premises! No local vendor dropped off pasta in the morning like Khartoum’s head in the bed. Ah Fongool! Absolutely Horrific…. Ordered a Chef-Made Rigatoni, Cherry Tomato, Eggplant. With every bite I felt happier than Jimmy Conway knowing Tommy was getting made. Right type of sweetness and varying degrees of tomato taste , added to the assuredly, confident spice of the sauce just right. Fresh Ground pepper to top it off , with the carefully strewn about hand cut basil strips.

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Right alongside this dynamite pasta I had seared Salmon, mustard sauce, and asparagus. The mustard sauce brilliantly nullifies the fishy taste and adds an earthy blend of muted piquancy. A slow burn akin to Godfather 1. The Al Dente Asparagus was Pitch perfect.

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After all this goodness I felt like the biggest Gavone. I was entranced looking at their menu, all the different options. Once the waiter pried it from my hands I was ready for dessert.

I opted for a short and sweet single expresso, with a side of Sambuca. The Sambuca’s black licorice flavor is that “good sugar” poured into the expresso. The combo is lethal, like Denzel and Michael Mann teaming up for a Gangster Epic.

 

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I believe Great ITALIAN food subverts your expectations, in a thoughtfully creative way. Gran Sasso is truly a Great Rock of Italian cuisine. They are consistently outstanding in their service, attention to detail , and above all wacking that Hungry, hungry Gavone so subtly like Tommy DeVito .

(Ed. Note– For Mingrone, Pistone, Fonte, Tolento, Sabella, Migliorisi, back in my formative days of junior high being the new kid. You guys took a lone Eggplant -in ’95, 2 years into pre-white Flight Canarsie-and accepted me into ya’ll culture. Dalla testa ai piedi. Grazie.)

La vita è bella!!!

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