Does the Chef make the Restaurant, or does the Restaurant make the Chef?  Some might equate this to the age old adage of the chicken and the egg…who comes first and eventually, what makes the chicken cross the road?

Jim and I don’t get out too much.  Two things: having a 14 month old is prohibitive in itself and second, if we are going to get the time out (ahhhhh!), we won’t waste it on a steak house where well, to be quite honest, the meat we get is better…kinder…gentler..tastier.  We went to Manzo, deep in the heart of another Batali Emporium, deep in the love of our friend and head Chef, Mike Toscano.

Mike is very talented, he dreams house-made pasta, olive oil tastings, charcuterie.  He’s worked his way through the Keller-Batali Empire (s) silently, kept his head down when someone famous walked through the kitchen, took time off when his wife gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, traveled extensively throughout Italy.  He is a humble man filled with a love of Cuisine.  Some people are so thrilled that Eataly has made it’s way into Manhattan, finally(!) a place where you can freely buy white truffles in October and fiddlehead ferns in April.  Others abhor it and consider it a sin against local business.

For us, it has represented both.  Mike IS local business.  We dined at Manzo 2 weeks ago and were in heaven as we know it.

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Pardon my photos, and this is how you know I am for real.  I wasn’t going out with the intention of shooting photos.

Mike is jumping the coop, crossing the road.  We consider ourselves LUCKY to have tasted his creations when we did, and cannot wait to visit him in his new space, in due time.  I suppose that the best meal we have had in 2012 thus far is where the Chef is, not where the restaurant is.  We can’t wait to follow Mike in his new endeavors (and yes!) Jim and I both know his path down the yellow brick road…to be continued.  Much love to our friend Mike.

 

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