Carbonara at La Grata in the South Bronx

Friday, March 24, 2017 06:14PM
Lauren Glassberg reports


SOUTH BRONX - Some business owners like to open well established neighborhoods.

Others seek out the new frontier, and that's the idea behind this week's Neighborhood Eats.

This Italian spot opened in October in what some developers are calling the piano district of the Bronx, because it's where pianos used to be built in the early 1900s.

Now it's becoming more residential with stores and restaurants moving in.

Among them is La Grata located at 136 Alexander Avenue.

"I love the change of New York over the years, Hell's Kitchen first, I saw all these neighborhoods change, I saw the South Bronx, and I said, 'Why not, let's go,'" said Erminio Conte, restaurant owner.

For Conte, the newest challenge is Mott Haven. Some are already calling it the Williamsburg of the Bronx. La Grata is one of the first restaurants to open in this neighborhood where change is happening.

"I think la grata brings a certain, you know class, and fun and great taste that we haven't had in a while," Conte said.

There are two pizza ovens and much of what drives this restaurant is pizza.

"I like a plain pizza, but today we're getting a mushroom pizza, very good, and a burrata salad," a customer said.

There are salads and entrees, most made in the ovens, and pasta, but of course the carbonara is the most popular.

Chef Conte does use cream for his version, which is added to crisped pancetta.

He tosses in linguini, adds an egg yolk and parmesan, and basil for a garnish. It's decadent.

There's art by local artists. The employees live in the area, and there's a hoop above the ovens.

The South Bronx may not yet be a destination, but La Grata is offering up a big welcome.

"Each customer, they coming in is my customer. They come and they come and they come again," Conte said. "It feels great."

RECIPE: Carbonara from La Grata

Ingredients:
Salt
Pepper
4oz chopped pancetta
1 egg yolk
2.5 ounces heavy cream
3oz. linguini
2.5 oz grated parmesan
2 basil leaves- julienned

Directions
Boil pasta.
As pasta is almost cooked (al dente) start crisping the pancetta over medium heat in a large pan.
As pancetta cooks, sprinkle with pinch of salt and pepper.
Add cream.
Reduce for a minute or two.
Add drained pasta.
Toss with cheese and egg yolk over low heat.
Plate with basil as garnish.
Serves 1.
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