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June 15, 2012

New Cookbook: Rao’s on the Grill

By Erin Schumaker | Food

Rao's on the Grill
Image courtesy St. Martin’s Press

One of New York’s most exclusive eateries is releasing its own cookbook just in time for summer. Rao’s on the Grill (St. Martin’s Press, $35)—courtesy of Rao’s Restaurant (455 E. 114th St.; 212-722-6709), the East Harlem gem that holds a mere ten tables and does one seating a night—features 80 pages brimming with favorite summer recipes and fresh twists on signature dishes from co-owner Frank Pellegrino’s family.

The legendary Neapolitan hot spot was a neighborhood secret for years until it exploded on to the culinary scene after a rave review in The New York Times in 1977. Known for its homespun Italian cooking and dance-inducing jukebox, Rao’s is a taste of old New York in all its uncomplicated elegance. Many regulars have standing reservations, meaning a yearlong wait for a table isn’t unusual—if you can get a reservation at all.

Thankfully, the book offers delicious recipes as a consolation. A few must-tries include delicate veal paillard chops with rosemary and capers served over arugula; bold and smoky grilled lemon chicken (a staple at the restaurant for decades); and grilled peaches with mascarpone mousse for dessert, which is simply timeless—just like Rao’s. us.macmillan.com

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