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Grano Trattoria

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Food has never been far from the center of Maurizio Crescenzo’s life. The owner and chef at Grano, the Greenwich Village trattoria that draws on Italy’s many regional cuisines, is passionate both about cooking and about sharing the bounty of his kitchen.
In the small southern Italian town of Sarno where Maurizio and his six brothers were raised, big meals were an everyday event. He learned young how to season the lamb that was served at Sunday family gatherings, which brought together 20 or 30 relatives, and when to stir the ragu sauce that his mother had left simmering on the stove. From the olives grown on the family farm, he learned to make his own olive oil, and from the grapes, red wine. Rosemary, sage and oregano were among the favored herbs in the Crescenzo household and the fragrance of baking bread wafted through his home most days of the week.
Maurizio’s journey from Sarno to Manhattan came in stages. At age 14, he held his first job, not in a restaurant, but in a shop that made iron gates for private homes. Even there, he began to see the world through the eyes of a restaurateur. Those iron gates were the first thing a guest would notice upon approaching a house, and Maurizio learned an enduring lesson about the value of an appealing presentation.
One day, a customer entered the shop and smelled the rich aroma of a pasta sauce. “Who’s cooking?” he demanded to know. “This is an iron shop, not a restaurant.”
All fingers pointed to Maurizio. “You must go to a culinary institute,” insisted the visitor. Maurizio decided to do just that, enrolling in Instituto Professionale Alberghiero di Stato, one of Italy’s top schools. He refined his craft there, but perhaps more importantly, he learned to use his imagination. The chef who became his mentor used to tell him, “Watch what we do, then do it your way. It has to be your own creation, your own work.”
After his first semester, Maurizio impressed his teachers by purchasing his own knife, one just as elegant as theirs, and a far cry from the flimsy knives that novices were generally expected to use. But it was only when he won a national competition -- for a cake sculptured with 1,500 pieces of marzipan depicting dancing girls in a salon -- that Maurizio felt sure of his calling.
In the years after graduating with honors from IPAS, he worked all over the country, quickly rising from sous-chef to the man in charge as he mastered one regional cuisine after another. In Rome, he created innovative pasta and seafood dishes, and in southern Italy, he began making the bean soups and polenta dishes that soon had few rivals. In northern Italy, he learned the techniques of long, slow cooking and perfected his venison stew and cured beef. Along the way, he was befriended by a local fisherman in the town of Civitavecchia, who taught him the secrets of identifying the most delectable fish.
Maurizio soon set his sights on New York and at 26, he landed on American soil for the first time, speaking no En
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Listings details

Address
21 Greenwich Ave, 10014
Telephone
(212) 645-2121
Fax
(212) 645-8447
Price
$18.01 - $25
Hours
Daily: 11am-4pm
Map
 

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