When Nino Selimaj arrived in the United States from his native Albania, he began his career in the restaurant industry as a dishwasher at a 58th Street eatery. Nino saw more than soap and water in his future, though, and began his nimble ascent up the kitchen hierarchy. Today, as the proprietor of a five-restaurant fine-dining empire, he’s turned in the dishwasher’s apron for a sharp tailored suit, sporting a jeweled American flag on his lapel in honor of his adopted home and rubbing elbows with diners including James Gandolfini, Carol Burnett, and Clint Eastwood. Nino also often rubs elbows with patrons at his flagship restaurant, ensuring that diners are enjoying their meals of zuppa de pesce, braised lamb shanks, or tender cuts of filet mignon. Elegantly plated veal medallions, homemade ravioli, and pan-seared scallops reflect the vibrant colors of the dining room’s wall-sized mural, which depicts the restaurant’s regulars in their natural environment—motionlessly still and covered in dried paint.