New York City sees an influx of new restaurants all the time. Seemingly overnight a new place opens up, the Chef becomes huge and then as quickly as they became caught fire they fizzle out. I guess tbhis is where the expression flash in the an really comes from.
New York can be a tough town, but it is also one of the great gourmet capitals of the world and there are a few establishments that are an iconic part of New York’s restaurant scene. And I went to one for lunch and dinner in the same day. I couldn’t help myself.
Fresco by Scotto embodies the essence of Italian food right in the heart of New York City. Just off Fifth Avenue in the midtown crush, Fresco bt Scotto is fast becoming a mini empire. The restaurant has grown quite a bit since it’s opening in 1991. Today there are two brands, Fresco by Scotto which is a huge restaurant and a take away concept next door called Fresco on-the-Go. It’s a smart concept.
The restaurant has a little walk of fame as you go into the restroom and coat area. You will see pictures of celebrities and politicians that frequent this outlet. For instance Barbara Streisand is often seen at Fresco by Scotto. Why? Well it’s the ambience and the food.
The family who run the resto are from Italy. Mom Marion is at the front desk. She greets 400 to 600 customers a day with a warm inviting smile and seems to remember everything about anyone who’s ever been before. Marion still loves to cook, she says that’s what keeps the family together. She personifies the values that you only get in a family-owned business.
There’s Elena . She is Marion’s daughter. She’s very involved with the catering side of the business which caters for companies such as the New York Jets. There is another daughter Rosanna. Rosanna has a successful television career as one of the main anchors on Fox Five New York. She is on the morning show but is still often seen at night time at Fresco. You can take the girl out of the restaurant but not the restaurant out of the girl.
And then there’s Anthony. Anthony is Marion’s son. He was in the hotel restaurant business before he found and developed this restaurant from scratch. He brings a great passion to his work. He’s in charge of the entire menu and nothing slips through a mess, it’s 100% right for his customers. He truly and deeply cares.
The room is invitingly spacious and comfortable and you will never feel rushed at Fresco. You will see customers eating, enjoying ,sharing conversations and never racing for “can I have the check please. “ It’s the essence of Italy and so phones go off and families spend time together.
But of course what really matters is the food. Simply put, the food is out of this world. The tuna tartare is one of the best I’ve ever had, all done with the freshness and a delicate taste of olive oil. Yes they even have their own olive oil imported directlyf rom Italy.
There are Italian classics like chicken cacciatore, pastas that are cooked to perfection and they even have a gluten-free pasta range. There is one dish you have to try and it is the deep-fried zucchini chips with Gorgonzola cheese. The light fried calamari is also amazing while the pizza is perfect.
If you could manage dessert there are things like donuts and I have heard that they have the best tiramisu in the market, but I’m always too stuffed to try it.
Forget going to Little Italy which is a tourist trap and instead head uptown to Fifth Avenue and enjoy a sophisticated Italian meal that has the essence and passion of Italy brought to the heart of New York City.
Can you tell I’m getting hungry just writing this article
Daniel Green, the Model Cook is a Celebrity Chef known for his healthy approach to food and living well. With TV, books, magazines and live appearances, Daniel spends his time helping fans to cook better, feel better and live better. He’s also an avid traveler and a self-confessed Foodie.