The lights dim, two men dressed as Roman Centurions enter the room. They approach a wall and the wall rises to reveal…not Caesar but, instead, two chefs! The chefs present these centurions with a platter featuring the star of the evening – a traditional Roman porchetta, apple in mouth, garnished with vegetables and potatoes. The restaurant is completely suffused with the aroma of roast pork, finely carmelized vegetables and roasted potatoes. Wait-staff then regally present each table with their generous portions. The slightly over-dramatic presentation of porchetta simply illustrates what Italians have always known – porchetta is a meal to be experienced with gusto, and the pig is to be feted and revered. In Italy porchetta is not a meal eaten frequently. Instead it is only occasionally prepared – perhaps once a year, if that, and thus it is a meal to be enjoyed with family and friends, and for some as an offering to life or to the ancient “gods.”
Giano (restaurant and wine bar), in the East Village, holds its monthly porchetta night every first Tuesday of the month. Porchetta was a favorite Roman dish which Matteo Niccoli, Giano’s co-owner with Paolo Rossi, immortalizes in their monthly ritual. Porchetta is the only menu item at these evenings and absolutely requires a reservation. Considering the number of guests this evening, I would say that Matteo has succeeded in turning a slow Tuesday evening into a bustling event.
Porchetta originated in central Italy, with Ariccia (in the Province of Rome) being the town most closely associated with it.
The name Giano originates from the Italian word for the Roman god, Janus. Janus was the god of doorways – of beginnings and endings. Co-owner Matteo describes it the following way, "At Giano we develop the future by reinterpreting the past." Go to Giano for a fusion of modern and traditional experiences and flavors. Giano is a unique New York experience.
GIANO 126 E 7th St New York, NY 10009 212-673-7200 www.gianonyc.com