One of the visionaries behind one of Manhattan’s best Italian restaurants now wants to change the way you think about bread forever.
Alberto Avalle, who was one of the founders of the revolutionary Il Buco 16 years ago, will open a bakery, restaurant, and specialty foods complex, Pan Y Rosas, on Kent Avenue in April. His new partner is Felipe Avalos.
“Someone needs to make the best damn bread in New York and our goal is to be that person,” said Avalos. “I don’t think people have seen a bakery the way we’re doing our bakery.”
The partners hired a master baker with experience at Bouley and Balthazar, two of the city’s most-popular restaurants, and are shipping two wood-burning ovens from Italy this week.
Ovens are one thing, but good bread starts with great grain. At Pan Y Rosas, bakers will grind their own flour from organic spelt, kamut and other whole grains from New England in a stone mill.
The specialty shop will also feature cured sausage from heritage pork from Vermont, olive oil imported from Italy and pressed just for the store’s specialty shop, and a well-curated cheese display. Unlike a traditional fromage shop, you won’t see 20 varieties of Pecorino Romano, but one variety: the best Pecorino.
“If I’m going to sell you Pecorino, I’m going to sell you the best Pecorino known to man made by two sisters, fifth generation, from the hills of Umbria, that’s totally biodynamic,” said Avalos. “They make the most fabulous Pecorino you’ll ever eat.”
As lively as the bakery and specialty shop is, one should not overlook the 80-seat trattoria, which will feature Mediterranean-style cuisine from Umbria in Italy and Galicia in Spain, and include a roof deck with striking views of the Empire State Building and the Williamsburg Bridge.
Avalle stresses that the restaurant will focus on the “purity” of Mediterranean ingredients cooked in a classical, artisanal manner. Expect a lot of pork.
“We’re purists here,” said Avalle. “If it has more than two or three ingredients, a little sage and rosemary, it isn’t Italian anymore.”