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Gelso & Grand Gives the Italian Food Center an Update, With Help from Akhtar Nawab

Take a look around.

Here's a look around Gelso & Grand, the new restaurant in what used to be known as the Italian Food Center. It still serves Italian food, but now that food is in the hands of chef Cassidy Hallman, an alum of Momofuku and Bouley, and Akhtar Nawab, the former La Esquina chef who's still roaming free following his breakup with EMM Group's failed La Cenita. The revamp was a quick one, so the space is not completely different, but it has been given a good sprucing up. There's new artwork, and most of the stacks of Italian pantry items are gone, clearly with an eye towards a less tourist-y vibe.

The menu leans more towards the high end and the trendy, with dishes like squid ink risotto topped with uni, and a bone-in ribeye with roasted bone marrow, though there are also lots of fresh pastas and a few pizzas. A little later this spring, the restaurant will also debut its chef's tasting room, so clearly there's some ambition here.

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