As the sun rises, Chef Pasquale can be found one of two places. Most days, he wakes up early to visit a Bronx marketplace where he personally selects the freshest ingredients for Da Marino's menu. If he isn't there, then he's picking even-fresher produce directly from the vine in his home garden. Chef Pasquale learned the importance of fresh ingredients from his grandmother while he was first learning to cook in Calabria, Italy. From there, he honed his skills in Italy, Germany, France, and Finland before coming to the United States and opening Da Marino. Here, he crafts homemade pastas, such as the stuffed-cheese rigatoni and thin capellini, and prepares Old-World entrees of sea trout sautéed with tarragon and capers in a lemon-butter sauce and new york strip steaks grilled to order.
The chef pays attention to the restaurant's ambiance just as much as he does to the food. Once featured in a scene on Sex and the City, the restaurant is designed to mimic an Italian villa with faux stonework and murals of Tuscan scenery painted by Italian artist Davide Rodoquino. Even the restrooms match the Old-World aesthetic with stone fountains, vases of flowers, and vaulted ceilings painted with blue skies that earned a nomination for 2012's Best Restroom in America from Cintas and the Plumber's Tourism Agency.