Massimiliano Convertini: Restaurant takes it to the Max

Chef Massimiliano (Max) Convertini’s menu is influenced by the Mediterranean with ties to regional Italian cuisine.  Visit him at ZIO (17 W. 19th St., 212-352-1700).

Chef Massimiliano Convertini has lived in the U.S. for more than 14 years but still loves to cook the food from his homeland of Italy. Since helping to open ZIO in June, Convertini has been honing his skills in the kitchen while helping to create a delightful seasonal menu for the Flatiron restaurant.

What’s your favorite dish on the menu to cook?

Everything! We did the menu together [with co-owners Darren Berman and Roberto Manfe] so everything is something I created. But I would guess the signature Riso al Salto con L’osso [crunchy saffron risotto cake, bone marrow and  gremolata sauce] because everyone goes crazy about it. And the pasta, such as the pappardelle and the lobster raviolis.

What will you change to the menu come fall?

We’re going to create 10 new dishes for the fall — take off all the summer dishes and add new ones. I’ll add polenta for sure. Maybe a wild boar ragu or venison as well.

Your cuisine has a lovely Mediterranean feel; this must be inspired by your homeland.

Every region in Italy makes such different food, but it’s still Italian — it’s not just tomato sauce. There are so many different sauces; so many dishes.

If you really want to impress a guest, what do you prepare?

The Barolo wine-braised chateaubriand — it’s a center cut of filet mignon braised gently with wine.


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