(Above image: In Italy, this type of very soft, enriched bun is typically baked and eaten for breakfast and during holidays, says Meregalli; here, it’s steamed like a Chinese pork bun. Pecorino and egg yolk are grated over the top, and the bun is finished with a garnish of dehydrated pancetta bits. The bun gets a swipe of carbonara sauce, a mayolike condiment made from egg, olive oil, and pancetta. A nice slab of guanciale is cooked sous-vide for six hours, then roasted. )
For such outspoken sticklers for tradition, Italians have a little-known experimental streak. It’s on display at Mulino a Vino in Chelsea, whose opening chef Davide Scabin infused the menu with whimsies like cacio e pepe doughnuts. The restaurant’s owner, Paolo Meregalli, has expanded on the theme with a casual spinoff called Raviolo, where he translates classic Italian primi and secondi into a menu of dumplings (filled pastas) and buns (steamed-bread sandwiches), served dim-sum style with bamboo steamers and chopsticks. What prevents this notion from qualifying as fusion, says Meregalli, is the fact that every ingredient is Italian, down to the steamed buns, which are made in-house. They make a pillowy cushion for the only version of spaghetti alla carbonara you should eat with your hands.
On the menu at Raviolo; $11: 57 Seventh Ave. S., nr. Bleecker St.; 917-675-6319.
*This article appears in the November 13, 2017, issue of New York Magazine.
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