Michael Baldacci and Luigi Ghidetti Anna Klinger Peter Perrone Nick Nicopoulos
Brooklyn Cooks Italian

Michael Baldacci (left) and Luigi Ghidetti
Locanda Vini & Olii

Anna Klinger
Al Di Là
Peter Perrone
Brick Oven Gallery
Nick Nicopoulos
Bay Ridge Bakery

Wednesday, January 30, 7:00 P.M.
Members $85 , guests $110

Never mind those fancy Manhattan Italians, with their year-long reservation lists and their haute price points. Over the bridge in Brooklyn, there’s something amazing going on: in old-time Italian-American neighborhoods, a quiet culinary revolution is taking place. The new Italians dotting the borough are deliciously authentic. Their young, hip energy, on the other hand, is pure New York.

Take Locanda Vini & Olii, for instance—François Louy and Catherine de Zagon Louy’s new place. He’s a native of Milan, she grew up in Florence, and they met in the dining room at Celestino Drago’s Celestino in Beverly Hills. In New York, he ran the dining room at Torre de Pisa and served as manager for Cipriani, opening both Cipriani Wall Street and the latest incarnation of The Rainbow Room. She was general manager of Claudio Gottardo’s restaurants (the Mappamondo trio; Orologio; In Padella), then ran things at Mezzogiorno and Balthazar. In 1997, she went home to Italy and researched Tuscan cookery. Then the couple turned a 103-year-old Clinton Hill drugstore into a brand-new restaurant, and installed two Italian chefs at the helm: Luigi Ghidetti, a Rome-born veteran of Hotel Danieli in Venice and a serious chef/restaurateur in the old country; and Michele Baldacci, the grandson and great-grandson of chefs and a graduate of Tuscany’s finest restaurants. Their food is rigorously authentic and unlike almost anything on the menu in Italian restaurants across the city. "It’s a thrill to find a restaurant like Locanda Vini & Olii," Eric Asimov wrote in The New York Times. "Passion rules here." Agreed Tanya Wenman Steel of Bon Appétit, this gorgeous eatery—still boasting the original wooden apothecary drawers—"has the prescription for good food."

Then there’s Anna Klinger over at Al Di Là. "I love the food at Al Di Là," Asimov asserted: "It is soulful and gutsy, with simple yet profound flavors." And The New Yorker found that her risotto—like the rest of her earthy, satisfying menu—"embodies the sublime simplicity at the heart of the region’s cuisine." An alum of La Folie and Aqua in San Francisco and Union Square Cafe and Lespinasse in New York, Klinger brings a sophisticated sensibility to her cookery at this warm little Park Slope eatery, where her husband, Italian culinarian Emiliano Coppa, runs the show up front.

Peter Perrone launched Brick Oven Gallery with his wife, Jill Perrone, and his brother Kenny in a cozy little space just down_the street from the Williamsburg home where he grew up. The gold script on the front window reads, "Every Pizza Is a Work of Art," and New York’s Underground Gourmet says this is truth in advertising "that’s evident in every bite." The breads and pizzas are baked in a 117-year-old phenomenon that gives the place its aroma of authenticity and the first half of its name; the "gallery" part refers to the work of local artists, hung everywhere inside, and very much on sale for those who want to take home a different sort of taste of the neighborhood.

Nick Nikolopoulos, top toque at Bay Ridge Bakery, is an Italian only by neighborhood: he’s the scion of a bakery family, and his sweetly scented digs were first opened by his parents, John and Peggy Nikolopoulos, some 30 years ago. They still own the place, but Nick—who learned the secrets of perfect pastry from his dad long before he received his French Culinary Institute degree—is running the stoves these days, turning out the sort of "outstanding" treats that earned him notice in the Daily News and a clutch of other publications. So for the purposes of geography and deliciousness, we’ve named him an honorary Brooklyn Italian. He’ll share baking honors with that bastion of Brooklyn Italian bread, Royal Crown Bakery.

A Beard House tour of buzzworthy Brooklyn? Now that’s Italian!


Brooklyn Caviar: Wood-Fired Eggplant with Roasted Peppers, Tomato, Gaeta Olives, and Anchovies on Brick Oven Herb-Infused Flatbread
Tiger Shrimp Stuffed with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Wrapped in Parma Prosciutto, Seared, and Served with Arugula Pesto and Sangiovese-Balsamic Syrup
Brick Oven Pizza Margarita
Brick Oven Pizza Tartufo Bianco with Goat Cheese, Wild Mushrooms, and Truffle Oil
Brooklyn Brewery Beer
Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Montesel 2000

Puntarelle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Anchovy, and Garlic
Barboursville Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2000

Risotto with Cuttlefish Stewed in Its Own Ink
Paolo Cordero di Montezemolo Arneis 2000

Braised Lamb Baked in Bread with Cannelini Beans and Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Terrarossa Vinicola Savese Primitivo di Manduria 1999

Devil’s Food Cake with Raspberry Mousse
Soletta Dolce Valle Moscato Passito 1998

Wines generously provided by Tricani Imports.


   Next Event