Andrei Bancea worked at an Italian restaurant in his native Bucharest, Romania, before moving to Italy for three years and then to the United States, where he started work as a waiter at Downtown Cipriani and eventually moved on to the chain’s 55 Wall Street location. “It’s a very successful company in
Italy, so it was a big opportunity,” he says. And a very successful company here, too, if you ignore the tax-evasion and sexual-harassment lawsuits! We asked Andrei what life is like on the inside.
At one time, the number of good Italian restaurants in Park Slope could be counted on one hand. But as the neighborhood has boomed, so has the number of trattorias with Manhattan bona fides. Rob and Robin, in this week’s Openings, introduce one of them: Fifth Avenue’s Spirito, a product of the collaboration between the owner of Gnocco, the former co-owner of Gradisca, another friend, and the executive chef of Downtown Cipriani, Claudio Cristofoli. A look at the menu, just added to our database, reveals a tweaked traditional roundup of classic Italian dishes, including proscuitto di Parma with mango subbing in for melon, and oven-roasted veal cheeks served with risotto. There’s also a pretty extensive selection of antipasti and specials every night of the week.
Openings: Spirito Ristorante, Perilla, Casellula Cheese & Wine Café, and Sandro’s [NYM]