FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) — Two very different styles of restaurants are separated by an easy walk through corridor owned by the same restaurateur and chef – Giovanni Rocchio.
On one side, its Valentino Cucina Italiana. It’s been Chefs Gio’s popular fine dining Italian eatery in Fort Lauderdale for five years.
Across the aisle, the appropriately named One Door East opened a year ago with a global-inspired menu meant for sharing.
“To open two restaurants together, that’s a big deal,” said CBS4’s Lisa Petrillo.
“It is because we didn’t know how they were going to play with each other, but actually a lot of people go back and forth, even the older people,” said Chef Giovanni.
One Door East is a funky space that was formerly a garage.
“We still left the motor overhaul there. We felt like it was beautiful. That’s a James Dean wall art there,” he said while pointing to a giant painting of the iconic actor. “We wanted to make it more accessible to a younger group. Valentino’s is more like a special occasion restaurant.”
Back in the kitchen at Valentino’s, the chef was preparing a fancy pasta called Seafood Bolognese with sepia, rock shrimp, and scallions.
At first, he frightened Lisa Petrillo with some strong smelling fish sauce.
“This by itself doesn’t smell very good. It’s Asian fish sauce but it gives you a nuance there,” said Chef Giovanni.
Petrillo held her nose at first but after adding fish stock, wine, and butter suddenly things were looking up.
“That smell that we thought was really strong actually blends in well with the pasta,” said Petrillo after tasting it.
“Yes, when you see the anchovy drippings by itself you’re like wow what is that? But it gives you a nuance to the dish,” chef said.
“It really has a nice flavor,” Petrillo said.
Outside One Door East, on the smoker, is the brisket for their signature dish called Burned Ends.
It’s so popular, it’s chef’s entry in this Saturday’s 8th annual John Offerdahl’s Gridiron Grill-Off where local chefs team up with NFL legends to compete in a grill-0ff.
All proceeds go to Offerdahl’s Hand-Off Foundation to “feed the need of those in crisis.”
“It’s funny. You think burned ends are going be tough, but there’s so much flavor and they’re not tough,” said Petrillo.
“There is so much connective tissue that it slowly breaks it down and makes it melty and delicious,” said Petrillo.
Chef Giovanni is juggling two restaurants with two concepts. This Saturday he hopes to win a contest while helping out those in need.
“Whatever we can do to give back is something I think we should do to do our part, “ said chef.
The Gridiron Grill-Off is this Saturday at the Pompano Beach Amphitheater starting at noon.
One Door East and Valentino’s Cucina Italiana are open Monday to Saturday for dinner only.
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