Christopher Palios, executive chef and owner of Sophia’s Tuscan Grille, inherited his cooking skills from his Sicilian grandmother, with whom he worked side-by-side as a child constructing traditional Italian dishes. Palios went on to refine his techniques by attending culinary school, traveling to the Caribbean and northern Italy, and working in the kitchens of celebrity chefs Emeril Lagasse and Todd English. Palios uses high-quality ingredients to create innovative dishes that reflect the Tuscan countryside.
Personal touches go into the savory entrees, as seen by the hand-stretched peasant-style grilled flatbreads and the handcrafted nuggets of spinach and ricotta gnocchi. Black n’ blue mussels—simmered with crisp pancetta, gorgonzola, and chives—and linguine with clams pair with diners’ libations toted from home under the restaurant's BYOB policy. House-made desserts round out meals with creamy bites of wild-strawberry spumoni as refreshing as a nap in the produce aisle. To bring the Tuscan experience to their own kitchens, diners may take a cooking class or purchase one of four spice rubs hand mixed and packaged by chef Christopher.
When Caprice opened in East Greenwich, The Rhode Show correspondent Joe Zito interviewed owner Kostas Karampetsos and overflowed with enthusiasm for his classic Italian preparations. Drawing from his experience running Tavern by the Sea, Kostas and head chef Domingo Fernandez created a menu of pizzas, pastas, and chicken and veal entrees. They also draw inspiration from East Greenwich’s nearby sea monsters to craft seafood dishes such as the scrod francese and frutti di mare, which peppers linguine with littlenecks, scallops, and mussels. Caprice surrounds its guests with elegant dark wood tables and floors and a fully stocked bar. A long wall of windows admits sunlight during the day, and hanging lamps ribbed with an abstract floral design take over at night. Patrons can pull up leather chairs upholstered with a panel of pastel stripes, or slide into one of the lush semicircular booths lining the walls. Behind a speckled stone bar, bartenders also carefully mix more than a dozen specialty martinis.
Christie Flanagan has been cooking for more than 20 years, and along the way has managed to conquer one of the country's favorite foods: the pizza. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and the owner of Napolitano's Brooklyn Pizza, she and her team build their New York- and Sicilian-style pies from housemade dough and pizza sauce every day. An array of slices is always available, while pizzas such as the barbecue chicken-topped Cyclone or the Luna Park "White" Pie with ricotta come as full pies. The team's calzones and stromboli capture those fresh pizza flavors in appetizing pockets and the Brooklyn deep-fried calzone adds to the long list of talents inherent in very hot oil.