Giano: Neighborhood Italian in the East Village, NYC

Note:  This is a review of Giano, paid for by Giano, however, all opinions in this post are mine / Not Just Vegetarian’s

I was recently invited to a Press dinner at Giano, in the East Village.  Giano stands for Janus – the dual-faced Roman God who looks at the past and to the future).  The food at Giano is both traditional and contemporary, just as the decor is – there is a modern area in front and a more traditional, rustic Italian feel at the back of the restaurant.  The seasonal garden at Giano is open from April to October – a relaxed space for dinner in better weather. The co-owners are Paolo and Matteo – both super-friendly. Paolo Rossi is the Wine Director while Matteo Niccoli is the Executive Chef behind some delicious and unique dishes – the meat balls (and I rarely eat / enjoy meat balls), tagliatelle made of chestnut flour, and the simply to-die-for tiramisu and capuccino gelato.  Giano is open just for dinner (Tues – Sun), although they do have a Happy Hour from 5.30 to 7 PM (Tues. – Thurs. and Sun., when they serve 2 courses for $21.50 and offer 1/2 price on select wines by the glass.  Their New Year Eve menu looks like a steal for a Pre-fixe menu at $55 per head. 

Giano NYC's Logo of Janus - the two faced Roman God, Photo courtesy Giano restaurant

Giano NYC’s Logo of Janus – the two faced Roman God, Photo courtesy Giano restaurant

Giano dining room 2, Photo courtesy Giano restaurant NYC

Giano dining room 2, Photo courtesy Giano restaurant NYC

Seasonal Garden at Giano NYC, Photo courtesy Giano restaurant

Seasonal Garden at Giano NYC, Photo courtesy Giano restaurant

Inside Giano NYC

Inside Giano NYC

Co-owner, Executive Chef and Pastry Chef - Matteo Niccoli of Giano NYC

Co-owner, Executive Chef and Pastry Chef – Matteo Niccoli of Giano NYC

 

We were presented a tasting menu for the evening with wines paired spontaneously by Paolo.  The wines are mainly regional Italian wines, along with a range of global ones.  Ingredients for food are sourced locally (meat from upstate NY), organically as well as globally (San Marzano tomatoes) for Giano’s seasonal menu.  There are plenty of choices for vegetarians :)

3 appetizers arrived together on a platter.  The best appetizer was the meat ball in a tomato sauce.   This has to be one of the best meatballs that I have ever had in NYC, granted I don’t eat or enjoy them often.

Left: Asparagus wrapped in speck, with fontina cheese and balsamic vinegar reduction, and Right: grass-fed beef meatball in tomato sauce at Giano NYC

Left: Asparagus wrapped in speck, with fontina cheese and balsamic vinegar reduction, and Right: grass-fed beef meatball in tomato sauce at Giano NYC

Bottom left: Tuna and ricotta croquette with arugula salad and balsamic reduction at Giano NYC

Bottom left: Tuna and ricotta croquette with arugula salad and balsamic reduction at Giano NYC

 

The next course was a combination of 3 different items plated together.  My favorite and a very unique dish is the tagliatelle made of chestnut flour with a sausage ragu, mushrooms and toasted walnut.  This was a delicious dish well-balanced with sweet (chestnut), salty (sausage), and woody (mushroom) flavors with a nice crunch from the toasted walnuts.  Chestnut flour is naturally gluten-free and this pasta is likely to be gluten-free although I did not confirm with the restaurant. The gnocchi was super light and was not overloaded with cheese, even though there were 4 cheeses it – I thought it was undercooked.  The butternut squash risotto was sweeter than I would like it.

Chestnut tagliatelle in a sausage ragout with mushrooms and toasted walnuts at Giano NYC

Chestnut tagliatelle in a sausage ragout with mushrooms and toasted walnuts at Giano NYC

Gnocchi ai 4 formagi (gnocchi with 4 cheeses) at Giano NYC

Gnocchi ai 4 formagi (gnocchi with 4 cheeses) at Giano NYC

Butternut squash risotto with gorgonzola cheese and amaretti cookie powder at Giano NYC

Butternut squash risotto with gorgonzola cheese and amaretti cookie powder at Giano NYC

 

The salmon was grilled perfectly and looked beautiful sitting atop a bed of fava beans and peas.  If you like grilled salmon, try this one and you won’t regret it.

Grilled salmon fillet served on peas and fava beans at Giano NYC

Grilled salmon fillet served on peas and fava beans at Giano NYC

 

Next was a balsamic glazed filet mignon with braised onions, cripsy pancetta and basil mashed potatoes.  The basil mashed potatoes was a very unique side – the basil did not overpower the flavour of the mashed potatoes.  I wish I knew how to make these at home!!  My mashed potatoes were “tainted” with some balsamic (too sweet), never the less, simply too good to be not devoured.

Balsamic glazed filet mignon served with basil mashed potatoes, braised onions and crispy pancetta at Giano NYC

Balsamic glazed filet mignon served with basil mashed potatoes, braised onions and crispy pancetta at Giano NYC

 

The tiramisu is one of the best I have had in NYC  – it is to-die-for!  It was light, fluffy, not too sweet, with the right amount of coffee powder dusted on it!  It was paired with a capuccino gelato – again delicious!!  I believe this pairing is very unique at the restaurant as well and it’s not served every day.  If the capuccino gelato is offered on the menu, make sure you get it.

TIramisu served with a capuccino gelato at Giano NYC

TIramisu served with a capuccino gelato at Giano NYC

Capuccino gelato served with tiramisu at Giano NYC

Capuccino gelato served with tiramisu at Giano NYC

 

I would go to Giano again – especially when I am looking for some unique and delicious Italian food to eat in a casual and relaxed restaurant in the East Village!

Note:  The post titled “Giano: Neighborhood Italian in the East Village, NYC” appeared first on Not Just Vegetarian.

Reminder: While I was invited by Giano to review their food and dinner was paid for by Giano, all opinions in this post are mine / Not Just Vegetarian’s


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