Find this stellar Italian restaurant with New York ties tucked away in Allen

Notable Italian Restaurant Opened in Allen with New York Ties: Called Number 28, he’s part of an Italian group that operates restaurants in New York City, Miami Beach, and Austin – and now in the Village at Allen, at 190 E. Stacy Rd. # 1404, in the former Pane Vino Italian Bistro space.

The Allen restaurant is overseen by Leo Gravina, a native of Italy with his own credentials, including a decade of working for the Bice Group, the famous Italian catering company originally founded in Milan in 1926.

Gravina was part of an illustrious team of Italians who open the location of Dallas du Bice in 2006. It is since then worked for hotel groups such as Hilton and Gaylord, and was COO of the Lombardi Group for five years.

Numero 28 was founded in 2006 in New York, where there are currently five locations. They started out mainly as a pizzeria; the founding Biamonte family have been making Neapolitan-style pizzas in Italy for five generations. They then opened Number 28 locations in Miami and Austin in 2015.

While pizza is still the foundation, they’ve expanded the menu, with no exactly identical locations, spokesperson Sophia Sund said.

“They follow the same basic menu, but each location tailors their menu to their neighborhood and team, with the Allen location suited to Leo’s taste,” she says. “You’ll see that in specials, like the fennel and shrimp risotto.”

Some of their recipes have been passed down from generation to generation, including North Italian-style pasta, as well as pizza baked in a brick oven.

Entries include:

  • trio of bruschetta with caprese, caponata and artichoke puree
  • Bresaola rotolini made with minced beef wrapped around arugula and ricotta
  • arancini rice balls – both traditional, stuffed with beef bolognese and vegetarian, stuffed with mozzarella, eggplant and basil
  • fried squid and zucchini
  • Garlic and rosemary flatbread drizzled with extra virgin olive oil
  • veal meatballs in marinara
  • minestrone soup

Pasta includes:

  • bolognese paparelle
  • spinach & ricotta ravioli
  • bucatini all’amatriciana – large, hollowed-out spaghetti with guanciale, pecorino cheese, spicy tomato and onion
  • Spaghetti with meatballs
  • Bolognese lasagna
  • cannelloni in a creamy mushroom sauce
  • tagliolini fradiavolo in black ink – served with scallops and shrimp

Entries include:

  • rosemary and spinach potato chicken paillard
  • eggplant parmigiana, which they make gluten-free
  • Parmigiana chicken
  • porchetta, pork loin wrapped in pork belly, served with red cabbage
  • salmon with mashed potatoes and lentils
  • tagliata di manzo – sirloin steak with rosemary potato and arugula

Their signature is cacio e pepe, a simple yet compelling pasta dish with black pepper and a touch of butter that is starting to get trendy. But they do it in a theatrical and classic way, served in a hollowed-out pecorino cheese wheel, which adds a lot of flair and adds a dose of richness to the cheese.

Suffice to say that the dishes are scrupulously authentic and that everything is homemade.

At lunch, they have a selection of panini, and the prices are reasonable, with specialties like their Express Lunch, with two or three courses, salad and starter, or with dessert; and half bottles of wine with dinner on Tuesday. They also offer wine on tap.

There is also a little something extra to service, honed by Gravina’s heritage and years of experience in the hospitality industry.

“You have to see Leo in person, he has that charisma and charm – he’s an amazing host,” said Sund.

About Walter Bartholomew

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