The man behind the fresh tastes of Golden View Firenze
As sister restaurant to a top Florence destination, Golden View Firenze has an authentic menu that reflects the Tuscan capital. Chef Francesco Casu is also imported from Florence, where he worked for twenty years, several at three-Michelin-starred Enoteca Pinchiorri. He moved here with his family in 2013 and created a Mediterranean kitchen inspired by different regions, from his family’s roots in Sardinia to his days at culinary school in Milan. We sat down with Francesco to find out more about what he brings to the table.
WHAT MAKES THE RESTAURANT STAND OUT?
For us, the first thing is to work with the freshest ingredients. No compromises. Quality is everything. I cook with extra virgin olive oil. I cook even steaks and fish with that. Last summer I grew our tomatoes and herbs on the roof garden. I came here to do Italian food with the best product we can find.
DID YOU GROW UP IN THE BUSINESS?
My aunt was a great cook who worked for a famous Roman doctor. He paid for her to go to culinary school in the ’60s. I started with her, learning to cook. At fifteen years old, I went to the Culinary Institute of Milan, one of the best in Italy. My first job was at a five-star hotel, I was very lucky. I never had any doubt about what I wanted to do. I never consider it a job. It’s a way of living.
WHAT’S THE SARDINIAN INFLUENCE?
My family always had a house there with a garden. What I do here my father taught me when I was six years old. The artichoke dishes, all the fresh salads are recipes from my mom and aunt. My parents never bought any fruit or vegetables: To have a salad, you just go in the garden, wash it and eat it.
ANY SPRING AND SUMMER INGREDIENTS YOU CAN’T WAIT TO INCORPORATE?
Asparagus and Tuscan kale (also called black kale), fresh peas, baby spinach. In Italy we use fifteen types of tomatoes. I try to grow them all here. From the black tomatoes to the red, cherry, yellow, plum and baby plum tomatoes.
WHAT’S NEW ON THE MENU?
It changes every couple of months. In Florence we started a crudo bar, raw fish. In our shop window we have a fish section and we show people the giant tuna and swordfish. We’ll be serving more crudo here; the tartare of tuna with spring vegetables is light, fresh and delicious.
ANY CHANGES ON THE BEVERAGE SIDE?
We’re getting our full liquor license in a few weeks. Tommaso [a co-owner] will be coming from Florence to start up the cocktail program. We do wine events here, bringing in producers from Italy; we will continue to do threeor five-course meals with dishes paired with the wines.
8249 Railroad Avenue, Greenwich; 203-817-0919; gvfct.com