GRANO GETS GOING
Byline: Alexandra Bellak
After conquering the Union Square area with their restaurant Borgo Antico, Giovanni Iovine and Michele Maritato have taken on Greenwich Village.
Along with partner and chef Maurizio Crescenzo, Iovine and Maritato opened their latest venture, Grano, at 21 Greenwich Avenue at 10th Street, at the end of July.
“We’ve always liked the charm and European feel of the West Village and felt it was missing a true, old-fashioned trattoria incorporated in a modern setting,” said Maritato.
The decor is simple and casual, with an authentic trattoria ambience, terra-cotta tile floors and walls, walnut chairs, marble-topped tables imported from the famous town of Carrara, Italy, and floor-to-ceiling windows that allow for people-watching on Greenwich Avenue. Trying to incorporate the name Grano, which means grain in Italian, into the decor, colorful artwork aligns the walls depicting pictures of the harvest, fruits and legumes and sunflowers by up-and-coming artists Julia Randall and Josip Rezi.
Like the decor, the cuisine is basic, simple fare with influences from Italy’s 20 regions. The menu changes seasonally. The open kitchen allows customers to see meals being prepared by chef Crescenzo. Some popular dishes include the tortino di carciofi, sauteed baby artichokes topped with fontina cheese or beef carpaccio with arugula, artichokes and parmesan as appetizers. The black tagliolini with clams and the spinach gnocchi are some favorite homemade pastas.
Maritato favors the braised rabbit with polenta as an entree. Daily specials of pasta, risotto and entrees are offered. Light desserts and sorbets are also available. There is an extensive wine and beer list as well.
“We wanted to open an affordable neighborhood restaurant that was casual, comfortable and unpretentious,” said Maritato, “where you greet customers by their first names.”
Next May, the owners hope to expand with an outdoor dining area wrapping around the corner site.
Prices range from $6 to $7.50 for appetizers, $8.95 to $10.95 for pastas and $14 to $16 for entrees.
Grano is open Sunday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to midnight and Friday and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. for lunch and dinner. Brunch is served 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.