The Neapolitan Dream Team
A Greenwich Village spot, Ribalta has undergone quite a transformation since its acquisition by the Neapolitan dream team of Rosario Procino and Pasquale Brigante Cozzolino, two friends who not only share a passion for soccer, but also demonstrate a particular fervor for their native city of Naples.
It is this devotion that has led to a Neapolitanization of the old Ribalta. This young and vibrant Neapolitan duo has focused on creating true Neapolitan ambience, and they now delight their clientele with a genuine regional menu. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting Naples, you’re sure to remember its beautiful churches, picturesque street scenes, and especially the rich, heady cuisine.
Chef Pasquale has cooked for years in Italy for international celebrities such as U2, Coldplay, Laura Pausini, and Eros Ramazzotti, and now he’s showing off his talent at Ribalta. Wanting the customer to fully appreciate the artisanal aspect of his pasta, he makes all of the pasta in house, thanks to the newly imported Dominioni pasta machine.
“Even the bread we serve is made from scratch,” Pasquale proudly shares, pointing to a tiny tag clipped to the bread basket that reads “homemade.” Beginning with appetizers, the new menu immediately demonstrates its Neapolitan influence: melanzane al funghetto (fried eggplant in tomato sauce), zuppa di cozze (mussel soup in spicy tomato sauce), and octopus carpaccio in lemon sauce.
Many of the pasta dishes feature the freshest seafood, including nero di seppia (homemade spaghetti with calamari in a squid ink and Barolo wine sauce) and spaghetti alle vongole (spaghetti with clams). Yet the most Neapolitan dish of all is ziti alla Genovese (ziti served with slow-cooked veal and onion ragù). So why is it called Genovese? There’s an old story behind this dish that chef Pasquale will gladly share with you.
Still the star of the place is the pizza with its dough made in the most traditional way using natural yeast, a stem of which has been brought from Italy and is more than 85 years old. In this process a piece of the dough is always saved from the daily batch and gets refreshed to be used continuously, a tradition which generates a more fragrant, delicate, light and easily digestible dough.
This focus on the creation of most traditional Neapolitan dough is of even more importance when Ribalta’s new mission is to abolish the myth created around the possibility to use only few chosen toppings for the pizza to remain Neapolitan. “We are opening the door to creativity”- says Rosario- “In Naples you can find pizza with infinite toppings, even one with wurstel and fries, and it doesn’t make it any less Neapolitan!”
Ribalta is not only offering the best of Neapolitan cuisine, but it is also far from the image of decadent, dark, wooden décor of what many associate with the décor of Italian eateries. It is bright, clean, spacious and innovative just like Italy of today. So head over and get Neapolitanized at Ribalta.
48 E 12th St Manhattan, NY 10003