A Stunning Setting for Food and Drink Inspired by the Amalfi Coast Opens in Emerging Beverly Hills Neighborhood
BEVERLY HILLS, California – The Toscana Restaurant Group announced the highly anticipated opening of Nerano, located at 9960 South Santa Monica Boulevard, Beverly Hills, on Saturday, November 19, 2016.
Nerano is the vision of owners Andy Brandon-Gordon and Carlo Brandon-Gordon’s many trips to the Amalfi Coast where they became inspired by the temperate climate, the pure simplicity of the coastal cuisine and the inviting Italian culture. In combining their individual talents with a virtuoso team of culinary and creative professionals, they are fulfilling their vision of a stunning contemporary space matched with exquisite dishes and welcoming service they discovered in the village of Nerano. The restaurant is a personal ode to their favorite spot on the coast.
The Brandon-Gordons have assembled a formidable team of talent. In the kitchen is Executive Chef Michele Lisi. Lisi’s resume includes work with Chef Gualtiero Marchese in Rome and at Vincenti in Brentwood where he worked under the talented Chef Nicola Mastronardi. Behind the bar is the award-winning mixologist William Perbellini, responsible for the innovative cocktail program at Bar Toscana. Wine Director Emily Johnston of The Toscana Restaurant Group curates the wine list of over 200 selections of Amalfi, classic Italian and California labels. General Manager Nick DiLullo brings his expertise from his years as the long-time manager at both the acclaimed Plumpjack Group and Bix in San Francisco. Veteran Maitre d’ Patrick Doherty oversees the front of house operations.
Chef Lisi’s menu is deftly created with a light touch, using California and imported Italian ingredients. Highlighted is Lisi’s version of the quintessential Spaghetti alla Nerano, the signature pasta found in many restaurants in this Italian coastal village, made with Sautéed Zucchini, Squash Blossoms, Provolone and Basil. Antipasti includes Crudo di Ricciola with Pacific Yellowtail, Crispy Capers, Fresno Chili and Citronette; Grilled Spanish Octopus with Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes, Salsify Chips and Rosemary Gremolata; Grilled Crostino with Apulian Burrata, Santa Barbara Uni and Bottarga; and Roasted Yellow Beets with Goat Cheese, Toasted Hazelnuts and Mint. In addition to the Pasta alla Nerano, the restaurant features pasta of house-made Ricotta & Spinach Gnudi with Chanterelles, Toasted Sage and Black Truffles; Fresh Orecchiette with Italian Sausage Sugo, Rapini and Peperoncino Pugliese; and Garganelli ‘all Uovo with Black Angus Beef Ragú ‘Bolognese Style’ and Parmigiano Mantecato. Six varieties of Toscana-style pizza are cooked in the Forno Classico wood-burning brick oven and roasted at over 600° for perfect results – Margherita, Bianca, Prosciutto e Rucola; Tartufa; Diavola and Vegetariana.
Fresh Pacific Swordfish, Branzino and Gulf Spot Prawns are simply grilled with Terre Bormane olive oil. The Forno Classico oven is also used to roast a Whole Market Fish with Grilled Broccolini or Seared Saikou Salmon with Fennel Puree, Crispy Capers, Rainbow Carrot and Spinach. Meat lovers can savor a traditional Pollo al Mattone of Jidori Chicken, Wood-Fire Roasted with Herbed Root Vegetables; Prime Flat Iron Steak with Wild Mushrooms and Dijon Mostarda or Bone-In Prime Rib-Eye with Charred Treviso and Whipped Fingerling Potatoes.
Nerano’s graceful two-story 4000 square foot design is imagined by Belzberg Architect Group into two alluring interiors. Guests are encouraged to begin the experience in the sleek and lush BG Lounge upstairs, accessed by elevator. The room is beautifully appointed with rich walnut floors, a complete bar, and lounge dining for 40 guests. The dramatic and theatrical room promises to be an instant classic, reminiscent of Bemelmans Bar at New York’s Carlyle Hotel or Bar Hemingway in Paris. Here one can meet for more privacy, enjoy dinner, early or late bites paired with one of Mixologist Perbellini’s original cocktails – the Costa Amalfitana, Pearbellini, Gordon’s Garden, Italian Sazerac, or his interpretation of historic and contemporary classics like the Nerano Negroni Blanco, Aperol Spritz, Boulevardier, La Floridita Daiquiri and Paper Plane. The lounge doubles as a private event space and includes a dedicated kitchen. Downstairs, guests are seated in the main dining room which faces Santa Monica Boulevard with floor to ceiling windows. The room of 75 seats is intimately arranged with Tim Clarke Design’s handsome furniture, 54” high-backed banquettes and an expansive zinc bar that flanks the glass-enclosed display kitchen.
Guests enter Nerano by a discreet side entrance off Santa Monica Boulevard, drawn in via an inviting exterior courtyard by Rios Clementi Hale Studios. The entry for Nerano evokes the memory of its namesake, a quiet beach village at the tip of Italy’s Sorrento Peninsula. The design transforms a brick alleyway into memorable arrival and a sense of calming decompression that simultaneously suggests minimalist contemporary art and the moonlit Italian sea. Hand-blown glass floats, traditionally tied to fishing nets, are re-purposed as glowing beacons below wood benches that lead one along the alleyway path to the restaurant’s main entry. The alleyway’s existing brick wall is sandblasted, exposing a large circle directly across from the restaurant’s main door that gives the illusion of a pale full moon rising from a burbling fountain. A cat’s cradle of deep green vines creates a visual terminus to the entry and echoes both Italy’s viniculture history and the verdant hillside cliffs of Nerano.
Designer Tim Clarke’s stunning interior work is inspired by Italy’s gifted artists of the 50s and 60s that transformed design – Gio Ponti, Franco Albini, Achille Castiglioni, Ettore Sottsass and Carlo Mollina. It was the work of Mollina at the nightclub “Lutario” in Torino – one that ripples with biomorphic sensual energy – that inspired Nerano’s interiors. This energy is reflected in the curvy banquette seating, sofas, and sculptural bar seats that sit on narrow tapered legs. Italy’s automotive design is another theme. Sexy and extravagant cars like the Lamborghini, Ferrari, Pantera, and Maserati of the 50s and 60s were the genesis of the colors and materials used for the interior furnishings. Clarke’s custom-designed banquettes, chairs, and sofas are covered in a palette of Ferrari red, the navy blue of the period, and saddle leather. The vintage details are paired with contemporary art and give the building a strong personality and original aesthetic.
Nerano is the fourth concept by The Toscana Restaurant Group and is strategically positioned in an emerging Beverly Hills neighborhood – adjacent to the Peninsula Hotel, the soon to open Waldorf Astoria and the 40-story luxury residential tower Ten Thousand. Toscana, the flagship restaurant by first-time restaurateurs Kathie and Mike Gordon, quietly opened in February 1989. The Gordons dreamed of a neighborhood trattoria where friends and family could come together to eat simple, delicious food they found in Italy. The next generation of the Gordon family promises that Nerano will deliver the same acclaim for their convivial ambiance and consistently high standards of food, beverage and service that Toscana and sister operations Bar Toscana and S.Y. Kitchen are known for, from Los Angeles to Santa Ynez, California.
9960 South Santa Monica Boulevard, Beverly Hills, California 90212
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