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Mar 25, 2008 08:04 PM

Giano - Italian in the East Village, Manhattan

I went to Giano tonight for the first time and it was excellent. Location: 127 E. 7th betw 1st & A (old Baldo Vino space). Paolo (from Milano) and Matteo are the owners and were attentive and friendly hosts. Paolo had a lot of time for us with respect to explaining the menu, restaurant name, theme of the restaurant, etc. We had an excellent 2004 Barbera d'Alba. To start I had the Insalata Primavera and my sister had the Sformatino Di Ceci E Gorgonzola. The Sformatino was amazingly favorful. For Primi, I had the Gnocchi Alla Bava (excellent) and my sister had the spinach and ricotta Gnudi in a butter and sage sauce which was perfectly prepared and presented. I will either have that next time (although the gnocchi was very good) or the Trofie Al Pesto (they were out of the trofie tonight). For dessert we had the tiramisu and the dessert of the day which was a pineapple carpaccio. The pineapple was thinly sliced and delicious. We actually only ordered the tiramisu but Paolo brought us the pineapple on the house since we were interestd in both. In summary, I would go back here - the food was delicious, the atmosphere is comfortable and the attentive service is welcoming. I hope that this restaurant, which opened in January, does well and brings success to the owners. It is important to note that there is a patio that will be open for dining once the weather is warmer - that will be delightful! Enjoy!

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  1. I totally agree.
    Last night, in honor of a dear friend's birthday, we went to Giano (Giano is Italian for Janus, the two-faced Roman god of beginnings and endings.) 
    The menu is made up of two sides: one side with classic Italian cuisine, the other more contemporary.  Both sides work well with one another.
    We started with an order of gnocchi with four cheeses while we perused
    the menu.  The gnocchi were light and moist with the sauce from the four cheeses supplying a rich, silky contrast. They disappeared within minutes.
    Next we ordered mixed green salads with a thick balsamic dressing.
    Simple and delicious.  We also ordered the grilled beef wrapped in panchetta with a whipped horseradish mousse. An excellent combination.
    The breaded pork chop was quite a sizable portion, crisp yet not
    greasy and moist. The hanger steak with date puree
    and roasted potatoes was grilled perfectly with the sweetness of the
    puree adding a nice balance.  The pasta with truffles was very good, with the earthy flavor of the mushrooms and the smoothness of the sauce providing a pleasing
    experience for the palate.  The sea breem with grilled vegetables was
    moist and well seasoned.
    The desserts were quite good. The chocolate souffle was moist, warm
    and oozed dark, reach chocolate upon opening.
    A strawberry angel food cake with strawberry jam was also very nice as
    was the panna cotte with pistachio and strawberries.
    The wine list provides for a good choice, mostly Italian, at
    reasonable prices.  The decor is inviting, with a modern front
    bar and more rustic main dining area. 
    The newly opened garden area was very pleasant and quiet.  The service
    was attentive and friendly. 

    One should not be "two-faced" about visiting Giano.  An enjoyable experience awaits. 

    1. I had dinner at Giano last night with a group of six and agree with the previous posters that it is well worth a visit. We were seated in the garden, which was pleasantly cool and breezy--although rather characterless--on a warm summer evening. The menu evidently changes with some regularity since a number of the dishes mentioned above were no longer on the summer menu we saw.

      I started with the Tagliolini Tartufo e Bottarga, homemade pasta with bottarga and shaved truffles in a cream sauce and it was simply outstanding. Perhaps the best dish of the evening. I only tasted two other starters. The Lasagna Bolognese was very similar to, and nearly as good as, Hazan’s Baked Green Lasagne with Meat Sauce, Bolognese Style—and that’s high praise indeed. The Carpaccio di Polipo, octopus carpaccio served with a celery and black olive salad in a lemon dressing was interesting but not particularly flavorful. The very thin slices of octopus had a marvelous texture I’ve never experienced before, but needed a less subtle accompaniment.

      For a main I had Girello con Funghi Chiodini Asparge e Asiago, thinly sliced top round of beef served at room temperature with chiodini mushrooms and asparagus topped with shaved Asiago cheese and truffle oil. Very good, but not outstanding. A friend had the salmon, which I didn’t try, but it was accompanied by a fennel and saffron puree with a hint of Sambuca, which was excellent and something I’d definitely like to try at home.

      I didn’t see the wine list, but someone ordered a couple of bottles of Pertinace Roero Arneis, a simply delightful wine for summer, and one I’m eager to try again, although not the best pairing with the meals we ordered.

      Some of us ordered espresso and two of us had a lovely and not-too-sweet Vin Santo. The charming and garrulous part-owner Paolo, who was our waiter, brought us a tiramisu and a pineapple carpaccio on the house. The former was very good, the latter not so. It just wasn’t a particularly sweet pineapple.

      Prices are surprisingly modest for NYC with the most expensive pasta at $15 and the most expensive main course at $20. The person who ordered the wine noted that the markups were a bit higher than usual, but that there was a good selection in all price ranges including high-end Italian reds.

      And just in the fyi category, there was a party of at least 20 also seated in the garden. I doubt the restaurant could handle a group that size during the winter, but it’s good to know they seem to be able to do so rather easily when the garden is open.