The “King & Queen of Italian Cuisine” relocate to Scottsdale.
Chef Marcellino & his beautiful wife Sima Verzino are taking their long standing Central Phoenix restaurant to Old Town Scottsdale and they’re doing it with style. I have to admit, because of logistics, I was initially disappointed to hear they were moving. But my feelings have since changed.
Last night I had the pleasure of attending a pre-grand opening event and I can tell you that it was nothing short of amazing. A red carpet lined the corridor from the parking garage to the entrance. Photographers were on site taking photos of the guests, and tenors from the Phoenix Opera Company performed periodically throughout the evening.
The building, which was the former home of Digestif restaurant, has been completely remodeled; and I’m told all the work was done by Marcellino himself. The walls of the main dining room are exposed brick and the ceiling is lined with swags very reminiscent of the ceiling in their former location. There’s a nice sized bar and a private dining area but the main attraction is the “Chef’s Island” where diners will be able to book seats and observe Marcellino as he creates a personal meal for them.
Marcellino plans to keep the menu pretty much the same with a few added touches that will be coming out of his new wood-fired oven. We sampled the thin crust margherita pizza last night. Hot from the oven it was perfectly sauced and lightly topped with mozzarella and basil. One of my favorites of the evening.
The food and drink flowed freely all night as Marcellino showered us with some of his specialties. Plates of homemade, silver dollar sized gnocchi dressed in a light gorgonzola sauce were passed. There were also scallops sautéed in truffle oil and the most delicious porcini risotto. The eggplant caponata transferred me back to my summer on the Amalfi Coast and the pimento peppers drizzled with olive oil were mouth watering. There was asparagus baked with parmesan cheese and bruschetta with melted fontina and shitake mushrooms...the list goes on and on.
As I mentioned above throughout the evening we were serenaded by 3 very talented opera singers…who will be performing every Friday and Saturday night going forward. What a treat to enjoy such good food and talent all in one evening.
Everything else aside the highlight of the night was watching Marcellino and Sima dance the tarantella in the middle of the dining room with friends, family and staff cheering them on.
The "King and Queen of Italian Cuisine" have found a new home which now holds a special place in my heart.