It looks like Akhtar Nawab, the restless chef who in recent years has made his way from La Esquina to the EMM Group's ill-fated La Cenita to consulting on the menu for Choza Taqueria and its bone broth offshoot at Gotham West Market has a new project in the works. Once again, he's taking a consulting role (that seems to be the path he's on these days) but for the first time in a while, he doing something besides Mexican food. Instead, he's consulting on an Italian restaurant, Gelso & Grand, which is opening in the old Italian Food Center in Little Italy.
The executive chef is Cassidy Hallman, a former sous chef for Momofuku, and an alum of Bouley, so there's some potential here. Expect classic Italian fare, including a lot of fresh pasta, plus things like a steak for two, not to mention takeout window for classic Italian subs. It's also the sort of place that has a rooftop garden.
The restaurant won't open until early next month, though some observant passersby may note that the Italian Food Center has been operating under Gelso & Grand signage for a couple months now. But according to a representative, the restaurant is now closed, undergoing construction, and will open officially as Gelso & Grand the first week of March.