GNOCCHI: IN A WORD, A WORLD
A piece of authentic Italianism beats in the heart of trendy Manhattan: Gnoccheria by Luzzo’s brings a cornerstone of Italian cuisine to the East Village
There is no more arduous mission than to precisely stipulate the consistency of the perfect dumpling. Not even for housewives with the dexterity, skills and knowledge of generations. The ingredients are, as often happens for those gastronomic delicacies that have become a collective and shared heritage, the simplest. And, in a single bite of gnocchi, a millennium of that culinary knowledge -- that runs along the whole Italian peninsula and unites the single and multiple regional uniqueness-- is brought together. Each home has its own recipe. From boiling or baking the potatoes, raking the gnocchi on the back of a grater or with the prongs of a fork, making them small, medium or large; The difference is more in the reminiscences of Sunday dinners with the family, the smell of grandmother when she embraces you, the pleasure of sharing at the table before having finished the dish. Many people claim their invention, but the reality is that by now, this dish belongs to the past and to the cultural heritage of everyone and is able to connect even distant cultures such as Italian and American. After all it is from here that the gnocchi come from; or rather it is from the Americas that the potato, the primary ingredient in one of gnocchi’s best styles, comes from. Gnocchi is a dish that works and has made it, like pizza (New York has made itself a pizza spokesperson outside of Italy) even more universal. Anisa Moloney and Executive Chef Michele Iuliano, her husband and business partner, are well aware of this and have discerned the potential of this simple and tasty dish. Thus, adding another pearl to the Luzzo’s group of restaurants and given more people the more opportunity to appreciate and savor a true culinary masterpiece. “Gnoccheria by Luzzo’s” combines tradition and innovation, Italy and the
United States, a single dish and its infinite variations. Soft yet dense in flavor, gnocco is not a pasta but a variety of its own that in this unmissable stop in the East Village finds complete freedom to express itself: from stuffed gnocchi to a tricolor dish for two (pesto, four cheeses and Sorrentina style with tomato sauce), with spinach and purple potato and even a gluten free version, everything is inspired by tradition and home cooking. “Every Sunday at my mother-in-law’s home, she would make the most amazing homemade gnocchi in various sauces. It has been a tradition in Michele’s family since his childhood” Anisa proudly says. They both realized that those simple, homemade dishes would be a great success in NYC. Hence, the Gnoccheria concept was born, the first restaurant specializing in gnocchi. They found a quaint intimate location in Alphabet City and opened the business with an enormous amount of excitement, but soon realized that the location was a destination area only. It was a challenge the first 18 months but they believed in their concept so intensely even when the restaurant was struggling. No one knew Gnoccheria existed. “My commitment to this concept has always been profound because it’s an excellent product. I was truly confident that it would be a success so I tried to do something to increase its popularity. A simple video introducing our concept of the Gnoccheria to the world was posted on Facebook on September 21st in 2017. It went viral with a million views within 24 hours. On Thursday night we didn’t have any reservations. On Friday night the line was out the door and remarkably long. We didn’t even have enough food. Gnoccheria suddenly became a tremendous hotspot and today we have customers coming from around the country as well as from all corners of the world.” The secret of this success lies so much in the intimate and relaxed atmosphere that attracts families and couples alike (lovers in search of the ideal place for a romantic dinner), as in a recipe that respects tradition: baked potatoes (not boiled!), Italian flour and olive oil, salt and pepper. After all “everyone loves gnocchi!”
Gnoccheria by Luzzo’s is the latest venture from Anisa Moloney featuring the culinary creations of her husband Executive Chef Michele Iuliano. Gnoccheria is sure to be another hit within the Luzzo’s collection of restaurants.