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  • Zero Otto Nove brings a part of the real Little Italy to Armonk


    Zero Otto Nove

    Twelve years ago, when Roberto Restaurant first appeared in Belmont—the Bronx’s Little Italy—there weren’t as many good dining spots as there are today. Back then, proto-foodies trekked to Arthur Avenue for the purpose of purchasing fresh raw bunny, perfect cannoli, Calabrian cheeses made in Pennsylvania, and to visit a wine store that offered two dozen Brunellos. But they dined as an afterthought. It wasn’t that Roberto was so different in focus from the other restaurants there. Like the others, it still served a southern Italian menu. Roberto’s, though, originated in the recent past rather than more than a century ago. In addition to furnishing amazing food, the place provided a fascinating glimpse of what Italian-American cuisine might have been had the full range of raw materials been readily available to immigrants 100 years ago.

    The portion size at Roberto was opulent, too, so that signatures like roast rabbit with juice-soaked potatoes, pasta and seasonal veggies baked in cartoccio, and sautéed broccoli rabe tossed with beans and sausages would easily feed a table of ravenous diners who had only ordered one dish per person. A couple of rave reviews (including the Voice’s), and customers were soon streaming up to the Bronx—many for the first time in their lives. The chef was Roberto Paciullo, native of Salerno, a port city south of Naples. Flush with the success of Roberto, Paciullo opened Zero Otto Nove (“089″) on Arthur Avenue in 2008, named after Salerno’s telephone area code. Riding a wave of Naples-style pizza fetishism, the place focused on pies, but a full southern Italian bill of fare was also available, delivered in belly-busting portions. More recently, a branch has opened in the Flatiron district which combines the menu’s of Roberto’s, and the original Zero Otto Nove.

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