Torrisi: Taste New York

Manhattan’s Italian Specialists Show Off their Five Boroughs-Inspired Tasting Menu

Photographer Dan Forbes documents Torrisi Italian Specialties chefs and co-owners Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone’s inventive 7-course prix fixe, “The 2.0 Tasting Menu.” Originating as a sandwich shop on the fringe of New York's Little Italy, with just Carbone and Torrisi in the kitchen cooking for a growing number of covers, Torrisi has evolved into a revered fine dining establishment featuring vintage Tiffany’s oyster forks and antique Delmonico’s crockery. The chefs’ reservation-only 20-course tasting menu mixes local delicacies with playful nuances from their backgrounds, like a ragu served without utensils and only a freshly braided baked semolina bread to mop it up with. “I wanted to give every one of our customers that moment I had—whether they grew up Italian American or not,” explained Carbone. “You ripped a piece of bread when your mom wasn’t looking and you dunked it in the tomato sauce.” Foraging for references from the menu archive at the New York Public Library or Chinatown’s greasy spoons, the Café Boulud alums brainstormed a series of tongue-in-cheek "local" dishes like Manischewitz-Glazed Pork Chop, in tribute to the Jewish delicatessens of the nearby Lower East Side, and Oysters Roc-A-Fella after “Empire State of Mind” rapper Jay-Z. “Whether it’s dry pasta from Raffetto's on Houston Street or a Sichuan pepper from Mott Street, it’s a hodgepodge of ideas that make up the city,” explains Carbone. “We took this perspective of local cuisine and made it our own with what we are passionate about in our area.”

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