February 13, 2012 | Short Order
Chef Roberto Aita Quits Fiore to Open 30-seat Spot in Clinton Hill
Fiore's grilled pizza. Photo: Steven Richter
Chef Roberto Aita, a partner at Fiore at 284 Grand Street in Williamsburg, will leave to open his own small spot in what was formerly Speakeasy in Clinton Hill. He’s thinking he may call it Aita. He expects to have 30-seats plus 10 at the bar and to open in three or four months. Sunday is the chef’s last night at the lively country-style cash-only Italian venture he ran for owner Giancarlo Qualtieri, who owns the building and lives above Fiore on the top floor. Qualtieri whose Teodora on East 57th Street is especially popular with Italian wine salesmen at lunch, also is a partner at Celeste on Amsterdam and Bianca on Bleecker.
The chef's shrimp-and-vegetable stuffed calamari. Photo: Gael Greene
Aita’s liquor license approval by Community Board 2 was first reported in Fort Greene-Clinton Hill, The Local, a CUNY Journalism school site. Aita says he was drawn to the neighborhood by the cheap rent and an absence of competition. “I will cook what I like to eat. I am traditional like Giancarlo but after 22 years in America I learn what people like.” He envisions roasted whiting with salsa verde and described an idea for oxtail ravioli with bone marrow cooked in brown butter with white leeks and black truffle. Last Saturday night the special at Fiore was shrimp-and-vegetable stuffed calamari in cioppino broth that had our table raving.
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