Culinary genre-bender Dale Talde is applying his “proudly inauthentic” approach to Italian food with his latest restaurant, Massoni, which opens for dinner service Nov. 21 in the new Arlo NoMad Hotel (11 E. 31st St.). “I’m never going to be stuck on just one cuisine, one style,” the “Top Chef” favorite promises.
Raised in Chicago by Filipino parents, Talde actually learned more about cooking from Mario Batali than in his family’s kitchen.
“I was around Filipino food all the time, but I never cooked it. I made eggs, folded dumplings with my mom when she needed help,” he says. “When I started cooking, it was watching ‘Molto Mario,’ it was watching Emeril Lagasse, it was watching the great chefs of the world.” The spaghetti he knew at home came out of a box with sweet sauce from jars, but watching Batali hand-roll gnocchi and make marinara sauce from scratch, “that to me was interesting.”
Talde describes Massoni as “Italian-ish,” with pizza and pasta as the “canvas” for international ideas like a lamb shawarma pie, a vegetarian take on meatball Parmesan with falafel, gnudi with sweet-and-sour mushroom sauce sprinkled with nori, biryani aracini and even a savory cannoli filled with beef tartare, crusted in pistachios and dusted with powdered smoked beef fat. “The ‘colors’ that we’re using might come from India, or a little bit Japanese, or have Chinese or Korean influence,” a nod to Massoni’s location in Koreatown, he says.