Via Verdi Cucina Rustica Lends Italian Charm to the Upper Eastside
Outfitted in black suits without ties, Fabrizio Carro and Cristiano Vezzoli dart from table to table to inquire about their patrons' meals and to extol the virtues of various regional Italian dishes. As they maneuver between the restaurant's interior and the terrace, their tousled black curls and matching facial scruff render them virtually indistinguishable.
billwisserphoto.com Tortelli filled with Fontina and Taleggio cheese in a truffle parmesan sauce.
It's Saturday night, and the canopied exterior of Via Verdi Cucina Rustica is full. In the unadorned, candlelit space, elderly couples, 40-somethings with small children, and pretty young things appear at ease. They might as well be lounging in a friend's backyard. When either Fabrizio or Cristiano approaches their table with a cheery "buona sera," they sit up straighter and respond enthusiastically.
Fabrizio's twin brother, Nicola, is behind the scenes helming the kitchen. Clad in an apron and toque, the third partner pops out once during the night and then quickly vanishes. Both Carro boys are trained chefs, but when it came time to open their own place, Fabrizio decided he was better-suited for the front of the house.
"It's important to be able to communicate our passion to customers," he says after comparing the 3-month-old restaurant to an infant.
Like a newborn, it's the number one priority, he says. Thus, on any given night at Via Verdi, all three partners are present. It's no easy feat considering the 38-year-old twins maintain executive chef status at Quattro, a Northern Italian restaurant on Lincoln Road.
Indeed, it was that opportunity at Quattro that propelled them to leave their hometown of Alessandria, a city in Italy's Piedmont region, and immigrate to America. The restaurant's developer owned a vineyard nearby, and in 2005 he persuaded the Carros to take their extensive knowledge of the area's cuisine to South Beach.