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Anyone who doubts the authenticity of Dino Cialfi's Italian cooking is welcome to visit his first restaurant, Piccolo Arancio. They'd have to fly to Rome first, though. Dino and his brother Sal opened Piccolo Arancio after training under their uncle, and quickly honed their management skills while crafting recipes near the Trevi Fountain. When they headed back to America, they left the kitchen in the hands of their cousins. They now work with their sisters Tina and Rosa at Peppercorn's Grill, recalling their experience in Italy—and the tips that Chef Dino learned from his mother—as they prep housemade pastas, artfully grilled meats, and gelato flavors such as hazelnut praline.
Dinners here tend to be unpredictable because Dino whips up a new gnocchi and risotto plate each night, rather than just serving the same ones under different spellings. He mixes his ravioli and fettucine with lobster in seafood pasta dishes, and tosses rigatoni with housemade sausage. When it comes to meat, diners can keep it simple by ordering their salmon, ribeye, veal chop, or free-range chicken breast "simply grilled," or opt for a specialty entree. These range from char-grilled filet mignon in an aged-balsamic glaze to grilled Norwegian salmon in a brunello red-wine reduction. Wine by itself also flows from imported and domestic bottles.