A lot of restaurants claim to have authentic Italian food, but at San Rocco, they really do: Their executive chef, Alan Bravaccini, is an authentic Italian. Bravaccini was born in Emilia-Romagna, the homeland of tortellini and then honed his culinary skills in restaurants in Spain, England, and Brazil. But now he’s crossed the ocean to work at San Rocco and he’s so new that his English is extremely limited (this interview was conducted by e-mail). So how has the move gone? He’s stressed out about New York real estate but loves Central Park. Yup, sounds about right.
How has it been living in New York?
Stressful! The transition has been difficult and finding an apartment is very hard.
What is the most surprising thing about the New York restaurant scene?
The high competition between chefs. Also, they [claim] that Italian cuisine is their muse for new dishes but they don’t cook traditional Italian food.
What’s your favorite thing to cook on San Rocco’s current menu?
I love to cook the Cotto e Crudo di Ricciol [a sauteed amberjack filet with baby vegetables]. It makes me feel [at] home!
Is there an ingredient you miss that you can’t get here in New York?
The Mediterranean fish — the flavor and the selection both. Also, clams in New York just don’t compare with what I can get back home.
What has been your favorite thing to do in your downtime since you moved here?
I love to see concerts in Central Park.
Follow Dorothy Robinson on Twitter @DorothyatMetro.