Alex Palumbo may just one day join the ranks of King Midas. After five years managing Manhattan’s Da Silvano — known for its five-star dining and clientele — Palumbo has brought his golden touch across the river, to the newly opened Osteria Il Paiolo in Williamsburg.
Da Silvano, of course, is just as well known for its fabulous diners as it is its fabulous food, drawing Rihanna, Johnny Depp, Donald Trump — and the wide variety of bold-faced names in between.
So will Osteria Il Paiolo be Brooklyn’s first true clubhouse of the rich and famous?
Not likely, said Palumbo.
“I just wanted to make a restaurant with good service and good Italian food. Simple,” he said, dashing our hopes of a paparazzi feeding frenzy.
So the food then: It’ll be simple, perhaps, but not simple like you Italian grandmother whips up. Chef Andrea Milazzo’s menu features Northern Italian dishes like roasted Cornish hen over stewed faro and gala apples ($21.50) and chocolate pappardelle with wild boar ragu ($13.50).
The real point of intrigue, though, is an entire section devoted to polenta — heirloom polenta from Piedmont, to be exact.
“When you go out of Italy, you can never get polenta that is good,” explained Palumbo, who loves the stuff so much that the eatery is in fact named for the paiolo, a copper cooking vessel in which Italians cook the national cornmeal.
Williamsburg arguably has some of Brooklyn’s finest Italian joints — he loves Aurora, for one — but Palumbo thinks the neighborhood could always use more.
“I live in Williamsburg and the neighborhood needs good Italian food. That’s what we make.”
Good Italian, and perhaps a good celebrity hangout.
Osteria il Paiolo [106 N. Sixth St. between Berry Street and Wythe Avenue in Williamsburg, (718) 218-7080]. Dinner and weekend brunch only.