BEST UPSCALE ITALIAN RESTAURANT Phoenix 2006 - Marcellino Ristorante
How good are the handmade pastas at Marcellino's? So good we'd eat 'em off the men's room floor of a Chevron station, capisce? Marcellino Verzino is the real deal, a true Italian, who's owned and operated award-winning restaurants in both Rome and NYC. It's in Rome that he met his beautiful, vivacious partner-for-life, Sima, who runs the front of the house, while Marcellino busies himself with his artistry in the kitchen. Sure, if the guy wanted to, he might be able to get away with using a superlative pre-made pasta, but where's the joy in that for an old farm boy who still enjoys making things from scratch? So there's saffron linguini, porcini-infused fettuccine, potato gnocchi, fettuccine that's black from squid ink, and so on. There's more to the menu than pasta, like the calves' liver flamb?ed with cognac, and scaloppine in a Gorgonzola sauce. But they don't call Marcellino the prince of pasta for nothing, bucko, so pasta is what we want from this Roman emperor of edibles.