If you watched a lot of Italian television in the '90s, you already know who Giovanni Rana is. If you're really weird, and didn't, meet him now: the 75-year-old pasta god got his start riding around his village on a motorcycle to deliver noodles to neighbors; later took advantage of newly working mothers who didn't have time to make fresh pasta (not like that!); and eventually expanded his business into a pan-European empire complete with those kinda-amazing commercials, like this one.
His first full-service US joint is a massive feast hall featuring pasta-making materials, giant cheese graters, and copper pots hanging from the ceiling, a shop/to-go counter that's firmly attached to the floor, and the actual red bike on which he tooled around that village planted on the wall. Fresh pastas (which can be bought to take home) have probably the widest range of flavors you've ever heard of, unless you read WideRangingPastas.blogspot.com, with infused noodles counting curry tagliatelle, red lentil spaghetti, and artichoke tonarelli, which is essentially a ribbed spaghetti for everyone's eating pleasure.
Cooked dishes include lobster mezzaluna and chestnut tagliatelle w/ guinea hen ragu, braised pork w/ apples & roasted potatoes, and chocolate ravioli that's stuffed w/ tiramisu before it's deep-fried and drizzled with chocolate sauce. Meanwhile, the bar is slinging wines, Boot-brews, and cocktails heavy on Italian bitters, which describes exactly zero people who were delivered fresh pasta back in the day by a dude on a sweet motorcycle.
Published: October 29, 2012 at 4:00am EDT
75 9th Ave
New York, NY 10011
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